Thursday, July 20, 2017

You & Your Car

Once a year we take our bodies to our primary care doctor for our yearly physical. We are prodded and poked and looked over from head to toe. They take various fluids from our bodies to be tested to make sure there are no surprises. We are even hooked up to various machines to test our blood pressure and heart rate.  This is a good time to tell our doctors about any weird lumps, bumps, squeaks or rattles. Early detection is key.

Your automobile needs this same kind of annual exam. Your car doctor will prod and poke your vehicle, hook it up to machines, check out the fluids and any weird lumps, bumps, squeaks and rattles. Just like our bodies, if problems are found sooner than later, accidents are prevented, and repairs are cheaper.

The difference between going to a people doctor and a car doctor is that your car can’t talk. You have to talk for them. The secret to saving time, money and aggravation is to clearly describe the symptoms of any problems to the car doctor and when they occur.

To help you be able to describe the symptoms, use your five senses:

            Sight: Are any of the fluids leaking? Where the leak is coming from: front left, front right, middle, rear left, rear right? What color it is? 
Are there any warning lights on in the dashboard of your car?  

Smell: Describe the smell as best you can. Burning rubber, rotten eggs, mildew, gas? Do you smell it inside or outside? Do you smell it before you start the engine, while driving, or after you turn it off?

            Hearing: Click click, sputtttterrrr, rumble rumble, roooaaar, ping ping, squeeaal.  Where is the noise coming from and when does your car make it?

            Touch: Describe anything that feels different. For example: The brake pedal sinks down after the car has come to a stop, the steering wheel shakes at high speeds, the car sputters going up hills. 

The best way to accurately describe the symptom to your car doctor is have them take a ride with you. Then you can just point out the noise, rattle or roll and they have a great place to start testing and diagnosing the problem. Bring a written list describing the symptoms in case a ride-along is not feasible.
Repairing your car can be a five-step process.

1- Diagnose the problem.

2- Estimate the repair.

3- Get approval from the client.

4- Order parts if needed.

5- Do the repair work.
Like anything else in life, it all comes down to Communication. Make sure you leave your contact information with the front desk. Once it’s your turn, you need to be available to discuss the problem, the solution and give your approval before any work can be done. If the repair center cannot get a hold of you, your car may be pushed to the back of the line.
Ask All The Questions! When you get “the call” regarding what the problem is, don’t be afraid to keep asking questions until you understand what is wrong, what needs to happen to make it right, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.

Just as you would look for a properly credentialed doctor, make sure you look for an automotive repair facility that employs ASE Certified Technicians. With the care of a good car doctor and a yearly physical, you will be able to have a well-maintained and properly running automotive that is safe and reliable. For more information about ASE Certification, go to www.ASE.Com/Drivers

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You & Your Car