Caring For Your Car
Avoid paying big repair bills
One of the most common questions we hear from consumers is, “What do I need to do to take care of my car and avoid big repair bills?”
The answers are wide and varied. The most tried and true response to caring for your car is regular oil changes and maintenance. Make sure your oil is changed regularly—every 3000 miles with conventional oil, every 5000 miles with synthetic and synthetic blends. If your car has over 75,000 miles you should make a habit of checking your engine oil around its half-life (ie 2500 for synthetic). This is because cars with over 75,000 miles can start to show signs of aging and be burning oil a little more rapidly.
A good mechanic can help you identify signs of aging vehicles as the oil will be more black than brown. But, don’t count on it. Admittedly, mechanics are busy moving from one car to the next as quickly as possible, and may not recall your car’s particular history every time. Because of this, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask if your car is burning oil, or if (god forbid) there’s an abundance of metal shavings in the pan.
There’s no secret sauce to avoiding repair bills other than to be informed about your car and basic car maintenance warning signs. It’s far less expensive to fix a problem before it’s progressed to the point of having your car towed. For example: don’t wait to replace your brakes until they are making a horrible screeching, metal grinding noise, because at this point your car doesn’t just need brakes—it needs rotors too, and if you let it go too far...bearings. This just upped your brake job from $200 to $2000 dollars. So be conscious of your car’s performance and noises.
The other way to avoid big repair bills is to shop the shops. While most shops use the same estimating software to tell them how long a job will take to repair any facet, the rates fluctuate dramatically. AAA reports “Auto repair labor rates vary widely across the country, and even within the same city...auto repair shops in the AAA Approved Auto Repair network charged between $47 and $215 per hour, based primarily on the shop’s cost of doing business.” If your job is a simple flat rate repair or menu board item, shop around and see where the lowest cost is. This becomes slightly more difficult with car issues that need to be diagnosed as most every shop will charge you a diagnosis fee of $50-$150 to simply look at the car. However, all shops we’ve encountered will apply that diagnosis fee to the overall repair bill.
One of Auto Monkey’s goals is to curb this discrepancy in rates by providing controlled rates across the country providing more affordable car repair while providing greater financial improvement opportunities for auto technicians.
If you haven’t yet, test out our mobile mechanic service. Auto Monkey technicians come to you anywhere you need them. Simply download the app, place the service request, pin your location and pop your hood. It’s simple. In the majority of cases you don’t even need to be around when the mechanic shows up and fixes the problem. So go ahead: attend your meeting, care for your children, listen to your customer. The technician will notify you via the app when the project is finished and the payment is virtually paid. We’ve got you covered.