Shahe koulloukianAlthough owning a car provides easy convenience, it also requires great responsibility and care. To keep it running in great shape, it’s important to fully know and understand your vehicle. Sure, you know its making a noise, you know its leaking something, and you know it has warning lights and perhaps not running properly.

So, how you do speak on behalf of your car? Start by being proactive and learn the fundamental basics of your vehicle and how it works. When your vehicle is at the repair shop for maintenance and repairs, you want to make sure it’s receiving quality and honest service.

First things first.

Trust yourself before your mechanic. Once you go through your owner’s manual and do a bit of research about your vehicle, you can take notes of what you have already serviced. Dig up all your receipts by years and place them in a folder. Now go back to your folder and add all the receipts up and divide by 12, what’s that number? If you’re under $200.00 a month average, you’re in great shape! Do you know what a new car payment is? How much you have to put down? What annual registration will cost? How much more will your insurance go up with getting into a brand-new vehicle?

Keeping a repair file in order is a good way to make yourself responsible and be in control of how you spend money on your car. This empowerment strength will allow you to stay confident in knowing if you have already done this repair recently. Knowing how much you’ve spent on the vehicle can help you make sensible decisions about repairing or letting it go. Yes, yes… It can be expensive and somewhat time-consuming, but taking excellent care of your vehicle can actually save you a significant amount of money down the line.

Now, let’s accept some facts.

It’s your car and you’re responsible for it! If you cry “I didn’t know” or “I’m not a mechanic” or “I’m a woman”, IT’S YOUR FAULT! Take control by sensibly auditing your vehicle to know, do you need it or are you being sold something you do not need?? If money is not a factor, then you know what to do. But, for most consumers, the budget is the bottom line.
The average age of vehicles currently on the road is at an all-time high of 11 years. Cost-conscious consumers are choosing to keep their cars and trucks running rather than trade them in for new models. that also means many drivers are postponing needed repairs or maintenance as a money-saving measure. Unfortunately, delaying service not only represents false economy, it can compromise a car’s safety. There are no rules, it’s your car and it’s your safety!

The empowerment of getting to know your car will allow to know what you can hold off on for now and what you must do to stay safe for the time being and it doesn’t end there. It also gives you the power to know if you ignored a certain repair, what’s the worse that can happen. Knowing you have control is the key to staying safe.

Now let’s talk dollars!

It’s unfortunate; you have no choice to repair your vehicle when it comes right down to it. However, you do have the power to know how to save. The best way to save money over the life of a vehicle is to choose a high-quality, full-service repair shop. Allow them to know you and your budget before knowing your car.

Share your knowledge and ask, can you teach me more? If they laugh or shrug it off, then you are in the wrong place!! You want a repair shop that runs their business based on empathy and honesty, not the bottom line.

Team up with them and tell them you would like a game plan to keep your car safe on the road. This will do two things; it will allow you to have peace of mind and it will allow the repair shop to know that you are depending on them. This responsibility is what they are in business for. Just like a doctor that is responsible to keep you healthy and alive, not how much to milk out of your wallet or insurance company!

It is very important to understand that making the decision to bring in a car for service is only half the battle. Get the most out of your maintenance and repair dollars. You need to know how to best deal with an automotive technician so that a trip to the shop won’t ultimately turn sour.

The ultimate goal is the have a long lasting relationship with a repair shop based on open and honest dialogue and that honesty starts with you!

Share everything; do not twist the truth because you are worried you’re going to be judged, IE: my neighbor tried to fix it; I tried to do it myself after watching a video online.

After being in the auto business for over 38 years, I can write a book on the unspoken truth about bad customers that make it their job to try and cheat the auto repair shop by putting the blame on them and ruin their reputation. Of course, we cant forget the stigma of crooked mechanics, its very real and who can we blame for this unfortunate reality?

We as consumers have allowed it by not being diligent to empower our self’s with the basics. No one is saying go out and be a mechanic, but if you can overcome more then 50% of your auto repair concerns, your winning!!

Here is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you on your journey of empowerment;


Waiting for a break down to find a mechanic:

This is not a good idea. You want to start building a trusting relationship way before a last minute emergency. Start with a simple oil change to get to know the shop and how they operate. Ask to meet the owner and introduced yourself and share that you are looking to start a relationship to help keep your car maintained properly.

Choosing a mechanic because they’re ‘the cheapest option:

Of course, saving money is optimal in all spending situations, but choosing an auto mechanic simply because they are cheap could actually cost you more in the long run. When you selecting an auto mechanic, you want to look at their credentials rather than their prices, You’ll thank yourself later. Besides, repair shops that shout “We have low prices” Is a set up for bait and switch. You want a shop that stands firm about the quality of work and the warranty they provide.

Don’t ever ignore service lights:

If any of you the lights on your dashboard turn on–tire pressure, check engine, maintenance required, battery, etc.–never ignore it! These lights are sensor-specific, therefore, if one of them turns on, you know it’s time to have it looked at. Ignoring these lights may cause severe, long-term damage to your vehicle. Not to mention, you could be putting yourself at risk when driving. If a light turns on, it’s time to take it to an auto mechanic.

Don’t rely on DIY solutions for automotive repairs:

Regardless of whether or not your car is new or old, you should never conduct DIY repairs unless you know for sure you understand what you are about to do. Its empowering to be able to do some repairs. like air filter, wiper blades and even possibly fan belts. But with newer technology, its never that simple. Videos on YouTube are OK for you watch to have an idea of what is to be done.

Also, keep in mind that most of these videos are edited down to 3-10-15-20 minutes but actually have taken hours to do. Just make sure you know what you are getting into. If you make a mistake it will cost you more as the repair shop now has to correct what you did wrong and then start over. Although automotive repairs can be pricey, you’ll be receiving high-quality work that’s long-lasting and efficient and with warranty rather than a faulty ‘quick-fix’.

Constantly Check In:

Avoid hovering around the mechanic as they perform luxury auto repairs. This can prevent them from focusing and puts you in harm’s way. Instead, consider staying in the waiting room, renting a vehicle or asking for a courtesy ride back home or work.

Bring in a Cluttered Car:

You never know which parts of your car the auto mechanic may need to access. If the interior of the vehicle is a mess, take a few minutes to pick up. That way, the professional can efficiently and systematically work on the vehicle and do the best job possible.

Forget to Ask About the Warranty:

Prior to allowing a repair to be done, make sure you ask “What is my warranty?” “Does it include parts and labor?” Sometimes when you get a low price repair, there is a reason. Learn to ASK, ASK AND ASK AGAIN!! This will prevent you from dealing with surprise costs when you have to take it back after its been recently repaired.


Do get a regular oil change:

A great way to keep your car running at its greatest (and longest) potential is by taking it in for regular oil changes. Typically, vehicles with conventional oil will require the oil change to be done every 3,000 miles or 3 months and synthetic motor oil to range between every 5,000 miles up to 10,000 miles. By doing your regular oil changes, you will be increasing your car’s engine life and keeping your engine power train warranty in compliance.

Do get the filters changed when necessary:

Changing your engine air filter is a great way to keep your car running efficiently. Having your air filters switched out helps to ensure that your car is reducing its emissions Plus, better fuel economy. Changing your cabin/pollen filter that is located inside within the dashboard is important to change as well to help to filter out dirt, dust and pollen from the air entering into the cabin and avoid unwanted allergens.

Do have your wheels rotated:

This is especially important for drivers who drive near and far on a regular basis. rotating your tires can help to extend the life of your tires and balances out the weight that’s placed on each tire–allowing for the tread to wear at an even pace.

Communicate Clearly:

First and foremost, don’t ignore warning signs, lights and smells. Get on it ASAP and when speaking with a mechanic, discuss exactly what the issue is with your vehicle, including any odd sounds or strange behavior, and what you expect will be done to remedy the situation. The more specific you are, the quicker the repairs can be performed and the better the professional can do their job. Take notes of times, temperature and any other details.

Set Realistic Expectations:

You might bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance only to be told some unexpected repairs need to be performed. Understand the mechanic has the longevity of your vehicle in mind and might recommend making certain fixes now to prevent further damage from occurring down the road. These will actually save you money in the long run. Make sure to ask, how busy are you? If its a big repair, can it be done today? Make sure you communicate properly to let them know, “I need my car back today” If its possible of course.

Stay Close to Your Phone:

The speed of your auto repair sometimes depends on whether or not you can be reached. If you decide to leave the shop, make sure they have your phone number in the event the mechanic needs to talk to you about additional services. You’ll also be alerted as soon as your vehicle is ready. Nothing like expecting the vehicle to be done the same day, but you failed to answer the call and now the car is torn apart and you need to hitch a ride home.