Auto Repair Basics: What You Should Know

0 CommentsWritten by JeffFiled Under: Articles & Tips

Having car problems can be scary.  After all, an unexpected automobile malfunction can throw a major wrench in your ability to keep up with all of your adult responsibilities, especially if you don’t have a transportation back-up plan.  When something goes wrong with your car, you can either take it to an auto repair shop, or attempt to fix the problem yourself.  While it’s likely that you won’t have the tools, equipment, knowledge, skill set, or patience to handle major car repairs without the help of a professional, there are a number of simple auto repairs that you should be able to tackle on your own.  You just need to start with a basic understanding of how automobiles work, how they are put together, and what is most likely to go wrong, at what times.  Here is what you should know, as far as auto repair basics are concerned:

Regular maintenance.  You can prevent unnecessary automobile malfunctions just by taking proper care of your car.  Check your owner’s manual to find out when you need to get oil changes, tune ups, timing belt replacements, and more.  Be loyal to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and your car will be loyal to you.

Know the systems of your automobile.  Just as your body has systems that must work together for your overall functioning, your car has systems that work together in much the same way.  While it is not necessary that you learn every part of every system (although that’s not a bad idea), you need to at least familiarize yourself with the systems so that you can identify from where your auto problem is originating.  The systems of an automobile are: fuel system, ignition system, cooling system, intake system, drive train, engine, braking system, and electrical system, among others.  To learn more about your car’s specifics, purchase (or rent) a Chilton or Hayne’s book for your make and model.

OBD diagnostics.  Your vehicle’s on board diagnostics (OBD) feature is basically a computerized system, running throughout your car, that identifies where problems are.  Any time you are experiencing auto troubles, or a mysterious warning light comes up on your dashboard, you can take your car in to a mechanic, have your car “plugged in” to a computer that communicates with its OBD, and get a reliable, accurate diagnosis of the problem, right from the horse’s mouth.

If you decide that your auto repairs are too much for you to handle, you will need to find the right auto repair shop for you.  If you want quality service from a name you can trust, then you should put your auto repairs into the hands of experienced professionals like us, Paul's Alignment & Brake Repair.  We can be reached by phone, at 812-283-7740, or wrench1@paulsalignmentbrakerepair.com.

5 Things You Can Do To Prevent High Cost Auto Repair

0 CommentsWritten by JeffFiled Under: Articles & Tips

Having car troubles is extremely stressful, especially considering that you will have to entrust your repairs to repair shops that know a lot more than you do about cars (and can therefore take advantage your lack of knowledge, for their financial gain).  Even if your car is not yet needing a mechanic’s TLC, there are things you can do to prevent big repair shop bills down the line.  Whatever the case may be, it will be helpful for you to keep in mind these five things you can to do prevent high cost auto repair:

Get regular maintenance.  Your car comes with an owner’s manual.  Refer to it regularly and heed its advice when it comes to maintenance like oil changes, tune ups, and timing belt replacements.

Address the problem immediately.  This is where most people fall short.  They sense a minor issue, but don’t place the auto repair at a high priority (after all, money is tight).  The issue then snowballs into a much larger problem, multiplying the cost of the repair needed.  For example, it may cost you only fifty dollars to replace your brake pads, but if you go too long without replacing them when they need it, you may end up having to spend hundreds of dollars to replace warped rotors and drums.

Drive the “right” car.  Some vehicles simply cost more to repair than others.  Why?  Because they are more rare, and/or are more complicated to fix.  It may even be that their parts are harder to find.  If low-cost auto maintenance is important to you, stay away from exotic foreign cars and rare makes/models that are years out of production.

Do your research.  When it comes to auto repairs, it definitely pays to do your research before you take your car in to be worked on.  Take inventory of the symptoms you notice in your car, and then search the Internet to find possible culprits.  Also, if you know someone who knows a thing or two about auto repair, get as much information as you can about what the problem may be.  That way, when you do take your car to the shop, you are less likely to fall prey to unnecessary up-selling and expensive false diagnostics.

Shop around.  Not all auto repair shops are created equal.  Once you have a good idea of what type of repairs your vehicle needs, you should call around to find out how much your local auto shops will charge for the same repairs.  Chances are you can save a great deal of money just by doing this footwork.

Finding the right auto repair shop for you can be a little intimidating.  If you want quality service from a name you can trust, then you should put this important job into the hands of experienced professionals like us, Paul's Alignment & Brake Repair.  We can be reached by phone, at 812-283-7740, or wrench1@paulsalignmentbrake.com.

3 Reasons Why Do It Yourself Auto Repair is Not a Good Idea

0 CommentsWritten by JeffFiled Under: Articles & Tips

Auto repairs can be very expensive.  For that reason, many people look for ways to cut costs; some even opt to try their own hands at auto repair, however inexperienced they are.  Generally speaking, auto repair is something that should be left to the professionals.  Need some convincing?  Here are three reasons why do it yourself auto repair is not a good idea:

Some car repairs are dangerous.  Many auto repairs require that you jack your car up off the ground, or that you handle electrical parts and heavy machinery/tools.  If you don’t have experience with these things, you could be putting yourself in grave danger by taking the chance on repairing your automobile yourself.  For safety’s sake, take your car in to a qualified repair shop.

You don’t know what you’re doing.  Face it: mechanics are able to call themselves mechanics for a reason.  They either went to a special school, or studied under a mentor for years, to learn all about auto repair.  While it is true that you can research the Internet and check out books from the library to learn about auto mechanics, there is absolutely no substitute for years of hands-on experience and training.  It’s not unusual for inexperienced do it yourself-ers to complete the first part of a job, only to find that they get stuck – parts all over the garage floor – with no idea of how to remedy the situation (or put their vehicles back together).  If you are not a mechanic, then your best bet is to leave your auto repairs to the professionals.

You could make a bad problem worse.  This is related to the “you don’t know what you’re doing” point.  Basically, some auto repairs are simple to fix, while some are not.  Unless you know about cars, you don’t know which is which, and you could end up causing more damage than what you had in the first place.  For example, for someone inexperienced, a simple brake pad replacement job could result in a much more involved lesson in brake lines and hydraulics.  If you don’t know how to address these more advanced issues, you may end up even worse off than what you started with – replaced brake pads and all.

Shop around.  Not all auto repair shops are created equal.  Once you have a good idea of what type of repairs your vehicle needs, you should call around to find out how much your local auto shops will charge for the same repairs.  Chances are you can save a great deal of money just by doing this footwork.

3 Signs Your Brakes Need to Be Checked

0 CommentsWritten by JeffFiled Under: Articles & Tips

Anyone who drives a car knows that a car requires maintenance.  In most cases, it is important to get that maintenance before a small problem turns into a bigger problem.  Your car’s braking system needs regular upkeep if you want to stay as safe on the road as possible.  Additionally, braking systems are much more complex than just brake pads and shoes.  That means that a number of things can go wrong – from problems with the brake lines and hoses, to bent drums and rotors – that require your immediate attention if you want to stop your brake problem from snowballing.  In order to stay ahead of your brakes, you need to pay close attention to what you car is telling you.  How do you know when your braking system might need some TLC?  Watch out for these three signs that your brake need to be checked:

The squeal.  There is perhaps no more obvious sign that your brakes need attention than that all-too familiar, tell-tale squeal.  If you listen closely, you can even identify which brake(s) need replacing.  So, just what is it that causes this hard to ignore sound?  Generally speaking, your braking system works through friction between your brake pads and rotors.  This friction naturally wears the brake pads down over time.  Most brake pads have a built-in indicator to alert you of when they need to be replaced – usually a steel clip – that makes a high-pitched sound when it comes into contact with the rotor.

Vibration.  You may feel a vibration when you press on your brake pedal.  This most likely means that your rotors are warped.  Rotors may become warped if you go too long without replacing your brake pads, or even just from the pressure of driving down steep terrain.  Either way, if your rotors are sending those vibrations your way, you need to have them checked out (and most likely replaced).

A problematic pedal.  Pedal problems can go either way – either too “mushy” or too “sensitive” – and each problem is indicative of different types of brake issues.  For example, if your pedal feels mushy when you push on it, then there is likely a problem in the brake lines or hydraulic system; if your pedal is hypersensitive, the problem may be a worn rotor or dirty brake fluid.

Finding the right auto repair shop for you can be a little intimidating.  If you want quality service from a name you can trust, then you should put this important job into the hands of experienced professionals like us, Paul's Alignment & Brake Repair.  We can be reached by phone, at 812-283-7740, or email: wrench1@paulsalignmentbrakerepaircom.

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