Auto Repair Tips and Advice


The difference between servicing and repairs is that servicing is preventative while repairs are as a result of a problem.

Always think carefully before soldiering on with a minor fault. If it is a safety related item you must get it sorted out as soon as possible and some serious safety related things, like faulty brakes, mean it is not safe to drive at all so it must be transported to the garage.

If you are alerted to a fault by a warning light, check what action the handbook suggests. In general if it is a red light it is more serious than if it is an orange or yellow one. Ignoring such warnings can lead to serious damage.

Auto Repair Tips Auto Repair Tips and Advice

A coolant level light might mean nothing more than a top up but ignoring it could result in a wrecked engine because the system is empty as a result of a leak. If the car is under warranty, they may reject a claim where they can show you have ignored a warning light or left a minor fault until it has become more serious.

However, with something like a loose bit of trim or an electric mirror that needs a helping hand, you might be able to live with it until an imminent service comes round.

If it is under warranty, let the garage know when you book it in. It is easiest to get this sort of work done at a franchised dealer because their opinion that it is a warranty job is almost always accepted.

Get a quote

For major repairs outside a warranty you might want to get quotes from more than one garage, but make sure you compare like with like. Ask:

  • Are they using original equipment parts?
  • Does this quote include labour and VAT?
  • Is it a set price or is it an estimate of the likely labour time?
  • Is there a warranty on the repairs?
  • Do they accept credit cards? (Important for big jobs.)

Auto Repair Auto Repair Tips and Advice

Again, some garages do common repairs on a menu-pricing basis so can tell you the exact cost of, say, replacing a clutch, while others charge an hourly rate so it costs more if they have problems. Try to get a written quote. Trading Standards also suggests setting a maximum cost they should not go above without consulting you, which is sensible especially if the car is of low value where the repair might cost more than it is worth.

Don’t agree to leave the car so they can work on it when they can fit it in, but book it in to be done by a certain time so they can’t keep you waiting.

Some firms also specialise in certain types of repairs, like electrical, power steering, gearboxes or air conditioning. Because they specialise they may be cheaper for those jobs than more general garages.

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