The Two Approaches of Auto Repair

One way and a better way to keep your car running.

When it comes to car repair I have observed two very different approaches.

The first one seems to be the more obvious. Unfortunately it is the more common way. A car breaks and now the car needs to be repaired. At this point there is absolutely no leeway, because most of us have places to go. So the customer brings in the car, hopefully still running and we go to work to diagnose the problem. Depending on the level of maintenance the car has had, the results can be vastly different.

Just today a vehicle came in that needed an oil change and the driver was loosing his ability to use his brakes. So we checked the car over and it turned out that he had driven this truck so long that nothing was left of his brakes. Needless to say this customer wasn’t too happy with the cost to fix this. But see, here’s the clincher. When this vehicle was in our shop last time it was pointed out that by the next oil change the brakes would need to be done. Problem is the customer drove the car 3000 miles passed the recommended oil change. Once the customer gets over his initial shock I hope he will be able to see that this could easily have been prevented.

Which brings me to the other approach to car repair – Maintenance.
Maintenance just means keeping your car in good working order. This starts with a regular safety check of the entire vehicle. At that point the mechanic will point out all potential problems and will recommend when these should be fixed. No every tiny problem needs to be fixed right away. We leave the decision of what to fix and when to do it with the customers.

It’s kind of like going to the dentist. You can imagine your dentist’s facial expression when you tell him that you hadn’t needed any work for five years. Needless to say it would have been a lot cheaper to fix a little cavity than doing a root canal and a crown. I always thought the cost of a dental cleaning was so high, but then you consider the possible consequences and things start to look differently.I am no mechanic so I won’t even try to explain details of car repair, but you get the picture.My whole point is, that you might consider these maintenance check-ups a waste of money.

You have no idea how many people don’t see why they should have to pay for diagnostics, because after all “you didn’t fix anything.” What you are being charged for is our time and expertise and also use of specialty equipment. Having these regular oil changes and safety checks is the cheapest way of making sure your vehicle will last and it will prevent problems from compiling.

That picture above should help you realize just how many parts, moving or other, a vehicle has. the same vehicle we drive over terrible roads. The same vehicle that sits in the rain, the sun, etc. It gets hot, it gets cold. So go figure.

One last real advantage of regular check-ups is also that you can financially prepare yourself for more costly repairs. We encounter a lot of people who would fix everything we recommend, but they simply don’t have the money to do so. If you knew you will need a certain amount to pay for an upcoming issue, you could put money aside. The purchase price of a vehicle is by far not the biggest or last expense and life will be easier and our cars a lot more road worthy if we maintain them well.

Written by Claudia Donnelley

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