Driving is a big responsibility. It doesn’t take a genius to work that out. When you’re on the road, the lives of everyone inside and around your car depend on you. As if that weren’t enough, the very act of car ownership brings responsibilities many people don’t foresee.
Once you sign on the dotted line, it’s your responsibility to ensure that vehicle is roadworthy. As well as keeping on top of maintenance at home, that means going for regular checks at your garage. You should send your car for a service every 12 months. Regulation also dictates car owners need to attend emissions testing, as found on sites like https://telletire.com/inspection-testing/emissions-testing/, every two years. Add all this together, and it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. By the time your car is through with you, you’ll wonder why you didn’t buy a dog instead! At least they keep you warm at night.
Still, staying on top of checks is essential for road safety. And, if you attend when you should, the chances are your car will get clean bill of health each time. This is a little like going to the dentist. If you attend checkups, small niggles never need become significant repairs.
But, what happens if you do get bad news from the garage one day? You may have thought this was routine, but the mechanics found something they weren’t expecting. You feel like a powerless parent as you return and listen to the prognosis on your precious vehicle. The question is, what happens next?
Make sure you understand
The first thing you need to do is make sure you understand what your mechanic is telling you. Being vehicle owners doesn’t automatically make us know it all when it comes to car lingo. As such, there’s a good chance all that auto chatter goes in one ear and out the other. Even if an issue is simple, it may sound like a fatal diagnosis to the untrained ear. But, if you don’t understand the situation, you may well make the wrong choice moving forward. Of course, asking right out is your best option here. If you don’t understand, say as much. Better that then keeping quiet and costing yourself a fortune. It’s also a good idea to write down keywords along the way. After all, there is a chance you won’t even grasp the explanation. But, if you have notes to hand, you can go home and search key terms on sites like www.complex.com. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little time to make a choice here. And, that would buy you time to get a full picture of what’s happening before you make rash decisions or let your mechanic sway you.
Discuss your options
Once you’re 100% sure you grasp the situation, it’s time to discuss your options. Bear in mind that, from a mechanic point of view, the most expensive choice is the preferable one. As such, it’s essential you lead these discussions. Don’t be afraid to take a list of questions along and challenge at every step of the way. When you take the initiative like this, it’s incredible how much you can save. Suddenly, your mechanic may admit that ‘essential and expensive part’ isn’t necessary at all. Or, you may find that you can get by with repairing only half the situation, thus providing you more time to save for the significant work. Either way, discussion is the keyword. You need your mechanic to know that they aren’t in charge here. Instead, you should work together to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
Seek a second opinion
If repair work is simple, it’s unlikely a second opinion will be necessary. But, when it comes to major jobs, it’s essential you don’t settle for the first quote. Even after bargaining, some garages are simply more expensive. In some instances, you may even be unlucky enough to be dealing with some dodgy traders. You wouldn’t be the first person to pay for unnecessary work because their mechanic said they needed it. As such, don’t be afraid to take time to ask elsewhere. You only really need to head to one other garage for a good idea here. If they say much the same thing, you can rest easy that the work is necessary. You’ll also be able to compare the prices of the two. But, if you’re lucky, a second garage could say you don’t need work after all. To make sure this is a fair test, it’s worth keeping your diagnosis to yourself. Remember, this is a business. If you give them some idea that you’re expecting major work, they’re more liable to lean that way. Instead, book in like any other customer to make sure you receive an unbiased viewpoint.
Consider whether work will be worth your while
If you have two hefty bills after the above, it’s time to consider whether work is worth your while. Car parts cost and the expense sometimes isn’t worthwhile on an old vehicle. That said, even a car which is no longer roadworthy can earn you money in the form of scrap parts and the like. The best way to make a decision here is to compare the price of your car with the work you need. It’s also worth looking at the cost of a replacement vehicle. If it’s cheaper to buy new, never settle for that hefty repair bill. Remember, too, that work like this is often a fast fix rather than a long-term repair. Even if you do pay the price, there’s no guarantee your vehicle will go on to lead a long life. With that in mind, a new car might be cheaper after all.
No one likes negative news after a car service. But, there really is no need to panic. The best thing you can do is keep a cool head on, and approach the situation with logic. Only then can you ensure you don’t leave yourself too far out of pocket.