5 Car Costs You Can Avoid (That Your Garage Might Not Tell You)

Tips from a mechanic friend, Giles Kirkland of Oponeo.

Running a car isn’t cheap but there are often costs that can be avoided if you have a little knowledge about your vehicle. However, some garages might not choose to tell you this, as it means the lose out on the profit. Yet this can stand to save you plenty of money over the years and across the various cars you may drive, so it’s worth learning a few tricks of the trade. Here are 5 car costs you can often avoid, even if your mechanic doesn’t want you to.

Avoid Additional Repair Costs With Receipts and Guarantees

A good mechanic will stand by their workmanship. As testament to this, garages often offer timed guarantees on their work. For example, if they replace your suspension system, they could offer a year or two-year guarantee. In other words, the quality of their repairs should hold up during this time and, if not, you can get free repairs within this period. You should be aware, however, that repair guarantees are not a legal requirement but it’s worth shopping around for this, as it stands to reason garages that offer this are proud of their service. Still, you should always keep receipts of the original work, including written proof of the guarantee, to remove plausible deniability down the line.

Maintenance And Servicing

Similarly, you don’t need to pay a garage every time something needs changing. While it’s not advisable that you start tinkering with your engine without any knowledge, there are some excellent car maintenance guides online that can help you with the simpler stuff. The same can also be said for your tire air pressure. Why pay a mechanic to measure something a cheap sensor can do for you at home? On this note, consider, throughout your driving life, how often you will have to replace bulbs, air filters or engine oil?  Imagine if you had to pay a service fee of $50 for this? Over the years, this could easily add up to a three-figure sum or more. Taking an hour or so to learn a little basic car maintenance will ease your reliance on your mechanic and make it much harder for them to convince you into paying over money for simple fixes.

OEM Parts

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and, as you might imagine, these are often quite expensive. However, most of the time you’re simply paying for the brand name. If your car is long past its original warranty, there’s little to no need to maintain OEM-only equipment. This is beneficial to you, as there are plenty of third-party aftermarket parts that are designed to be competitively priced and with a high level of quality. With a little research, you can find some fantastic options. Many even come with a year’s warranty or guarantee of their own. Of course, your local dealer isn’t going to sell you these, because they only have their own OEM parts stocked. Similarly, even independent garages have a limited selection and may not stock a certain supplier. Yet you should also know that you don’t need to use their parts at all. There are plenty of garages that allow you to buy your own parts online and bring them in. This way, you just pay the garage for the service.

Tire Fittings

When most people think about cars, their tires are the one area that is instantly recognized as replaceable. At some point, you will need new tires and this is where many garages, again, can try and up-sell you in terms of value without any gain in quality. For example, if you only ever drive in city environments, you don’t need tires especially adapted for winter, since the roads you drive on are well maintained. A garage might try and convince you otherwise, because this lets them sell you a new set of tires and a servicing fee to fit them. If you don’t encounter snow or winter conditions, stick with summer or all-year around models. These often improve your fuel economy, too, helping to save even more.

It Might Be Cheaper To Replace The Car

Finally, as any car gets older, the repairs often become more frequent and the annual bills become higher. For garages, this is a good source of money, but you should look at your figures and learn when it’s cheaper, in the long run, to replace or replace your car. If you have a rough idea of the costs of a new car, try comparing this to your existing annual costs. Add up the insurance (including the excess), average annual repair fees and other maintenance costs. If this value is starting to grow past the cost of a new purchase, surely it’s better to just get a new car? This replacement will be in better condition, requiring less maintenance, and may even come with less insurance. If you find this is the case, make the change. Unless your mechanic offers a scraping service, there isn’t any profit in them sharing this advice. Of course, you should always look to recycle car parts, as the various alloy metal, glass, rubber and plastic parts are invaluable.

For one final tip, and Elayne’s #1 tip, is to always find a reliable mechanic when your car isn’t in need of repairs or tests. This way, when the big or surprise events come up, you already have someone to turn to. This way, you’re not walking into garages in a panic and willing to pay more than you need to.

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5 Tips To Increase The Life Of Your Car

Some tips from insurance pros!

Before discussing tips to keep your car running strong, it’s important to talk about the car itself. While patience and money can facilitate just about any vehicle to reach 200,000 miles, this isn’t always a reliable, or financially-responsible idea. That’s why it’s important to invest in a car model with a reliable track record. When choosing your car, check out credible sources like Consumer Reports, which offers comprehensive information on the reliability of both new and used cars.

With a dependable car that fits your lifestyle, you can immediately start taking these five necessary steps to ensure your car lasts as long as possible.

1.   Change Your Filters

Regularly changing your oil and oil filter is one of the cardinal rules of owning a car. However, there are several other filters that also need attention and maintenance. Along with your oil filter there are three other main types of car filters:

  • Air filter: cleans the air that enters the engine for combustion
  • Cabin air filter: helps ensure the health of the engine as well as the health of the passengers
  • Fuel filter: removes impurities from petrol fuel and water in diesel fuel

If neglected, each of these filters can greatly affect the fuel efficiency and overall health of your vehicle. In order to maintain a properly functioning engine, have these filters checked regularly and don’t hesitate to replace when needed.

2.   Always Check Tire Pressure

Though about 85% of drivers say they are concerned about maintaining properly inflated tires, only 25% of that population actually takes the right measures to do so. It comes at no surprise, then, that tires are typically one of the most neglected parts of the car.

However, by abiding by the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, you can better care for the integrity of your tires and improve your car’s fuel efficiency. Moreover, having properly inflated tires greatly adds to the safety of your vehicle. Experts recommend doing a quick pressure-check every time you’re at the gas pump. Filling your tires has a huge impact, so make this a habit you become accustomed to.

3.   Be A Good Driver

Think back to the day you took your driver’s license test. How did you drive then? Chances are you braked softly, accelerated gently, took easy turns, and used extra caution when changing lanes or proceeding through stops.

Fast-forward to how you drive today. Do you drive the same? Or are you quick to hit the brakes, hard onto the accelerator, or take tight turns? Unfortunately, most drivers tend to become less careful about these issues over time. Making an effort to pay attention to your driving habits and driving smarter will have a great impact on how well your car holds up.

4.   Keep A Maintenance Schedule

Though there are several steps you can take to personally increase the lifespan of your car, keeping a schedule to have your car professionally maintenanced will ultimately help ward off any serious or threatening problems. It’s important to choose a trusted mechanic who will help you stick to a normal schedule and who knows your car’s history. If you go to a different mechanic each time, they won’t know the work you’ve had done or the issues your car may have experienced in the past.

By staying on a regular maintenance schedule, you can avoid spending money on preventable repairs or unnecessary parts. Your trusted mechanic will keep charts that tell your car’s mechanical story, and they will know when to perform service in addition to what’s in your owner’s manual.

5.   Keep It Clean

 

clean car.jpg

Taking care of the exterior and interior of your car is essential when increasing its lifespan. By regularly washing and waxing your car, the paint will not only remain in pristine shape, but it will continue to do its purpose of protecting the physical material of your car. Along with regular cleanings and waxings, you should also cover your car as much as possible. Whether you store your car in a garage, under a carport, or a car-cover, keeping it out of the direct sun, away from bird droppings and tree sap, and protecting it from other harsh elements, will help maintain the integrity of your car’s body.

Similarly, be mindful about keeping the interior of your car clean. Don’t wait to clean up spills, vacuum carpet regularly, and wipe the dash to prevent any marks or stains from becoming permanent.

Keeping your car in good shape won’t just help it last longer and make it fun to drive, but it will also help you save money on car insurance. In fact, many insurance agencies offer rewards for safe driving that can help cut monthly insurance costs, and driving a safe, reliable car model will inevitably come with a lower insurance premium. Visit Bradenton Insurance to find out more about how keeping your car in lasting condition will help you save on insurance.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Great Auto Accident Calculator.

A guest post from Michigan Auto Law that very useful.

6 Steps to a Lower Car Collision Repair Cost

It’s stressful enough being involved in a car accident, but it’s an even higher level of stress having to deal with the cost of repair of your newly damaged vehicle. Those who have been in an accident and needed to have their vehicle fixed would know. Accidents don’t have to be very serious in order for the cost of the repairs to be ridiculously expensive. Knowing what to look for, and how to estimate your collision repair cost could save you an initial sticker shock and prevent you from being scammed. Performing the following 6 steps will help you achieve the lowest repair cost possible.

Tools and Materials Needed:

 Computer

 Internet Access

 Paper/Pen

 Basic Auto Body Tools

Step 1: Realize the Full Extent of Damage

Some of the costs associated with collision repair are the damage that is not seen from the outside.There could be leaks in windows or windshields, wires that need to be replaced, frame parts that need to be welded, or other damages that can quickly add up. When you’re looking for an estimate on your vehicle, take a look at what is wrong, as well as what could be wrong. This will give you a big picture idea of the total cost.

Step 2: Use an Online Calculator

There are many different online estimate calculators that will give you an approximate collision repair estimate. Michigan Auto Law offers an excellent car accident cost estimator that accommodates every state in the United States. After all, the cost of repair per state will vary. Use of these websites is as simple an inputting a few pieces of information about the vehicle and the damage that was done.

Step 3: Talk with Auto Parts Dealers

Take a list of the parts that you believe will need to be replaced on your vehicle into your local auto parts store and ask for the prices. This may also include any replacement body parts and paint to match the color of your vehicle. See if you can use aftermarket parts instead of the original manufacturer’s parts. Aftermarket parts will always be significantly cheaper than the original parts. As long as the quality of the parts are okay, they will tend to be your best value.

Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company

You should contact your insurance company as soon as an accident has happened. While you are talking with them, they may give you a list of approved body shops that can work on your car. If not, ask them for a list of places you can contact, as well as an estimate based on their records.

Step 5: Get Estimate from a Repair Shop

Many shops will give you an estimate before they actually do any work on the vehicle. This estimate doesn’t cost anything and will give you a better idea of what they will be doing to the car. Get at least three to four different estimates and then you can make your decision on a repair shop based on which one comes close to both your estimate and the insurance company. Auto blog offers a great search tool to find reputable auto repair shops in your area.

Step 6: DIY Your Repair

After you have checked out the repair shops and know exactly what needs to be replaced, you should consider whether or not the repair is something you could possibly do yourself, or with a few friends. This will drastically lower any collision repair cost, as there is no labor cost involved in repairing the auto damage aside from your own time.

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The Key to It

Recently I lost both keys to my Jeep. I know, don’t ask, it’s embarrassing to admit and subsequently I found one of them. Before I found that one though I had to have a key fob programmed by a locksmith. As soon as I lost the first one I went on ebay and purchased a blank fob so I could have a second one made. When I lost the 2nd one a couple of days later I was prepared with my blank fob to have it programmed by the locksmith. The process for that is to have the dealer issue you the codes that are specific to your vehicle by giving them your VIN number, once you have that code a blank fob can be programmed. The fee for that will start at around $150 depending on your location, so it isn’t cheap. BTW, the whole process from the dealer was $420 so this is a significant savings.

Of course with one key in hand I’m still at a disadvantage so I ordered 2 more blank key fobs on ebay to make 2 more. Now this is where it gets interesting because IF you have 2 working fobs (and this is for most new cars) you can program the 3rd one on your own in about 30 seconds.  Now remember I had one made, ordered 2 more blanks and then found one of the originals giving me 2 working and 2 blanks. It was going to cost me an additional $150 to have the 2nd one made had I not found it. The process is so simple a child could literally do it.

 

fob

 

You take working key 1, put it in the ignition and turn the key to on (not starting it, just on) and wait 10 secs and turn off. Insert 2nd working key do the same, after 10 secs a bing will sound and you remove the key (on my dashboard it said Programming in Process). Now you enter the blank key, do the same and wait 20 secs until it bings again and your key is programmed. Couldn’t be easier and I highly recommend that if you now have 2 working fobs immediately get a third (I paid $15) and do this process yourself so you don’t have to spend all that money if you lose one. Remember the object is to have 2 keys and if you only have one that works then you’ll have to spend big bucks to make a second. For a mere $15 you have a third backup. Of course I now have 4, but hey, it’s better than 1. When ordering the blank fob just be very careful about ordering the correct one, some may look similar but can be different.

I know this is the type of thing you will read and think “I better get on that”, and you’re right, do it NOW!

Questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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Maintenance Cost :- The Real Denominator

A guest blog from my friend Lisa Coffey.

honda

 

Finding the right car that fits in your budget can really be about lot more than just MPG and MSRP.The maintenance of the car is a huge expense that will be there as long as you have the vehicle, it starts to pinch even more once the factory warranty is over. Maintenance cost is a must to know thing to make a fairly educative decision. we compare two hot selling cars which carry more than one similarities but can be a lot different when it comes to repair costs.

Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla are both the best-selling compact sedans in North America. Whereas in the United States of America, the civic is considered to be the second-longest running nameplate. But both the cars are highly reliable and the decision while comparing both comes down to the buyer’s selections or may be to the discounts that dealer offers.

So, here is a detailed view of the respective cars on the basis of their maintenance services:

Toyota Corolla Vs Honda Civic

Both Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic have long battled for primacy in the compact sedan class. Whereas there are some similarities between the models, the Civic somehow finds its way to create an alcove, pulling itself apart from the Toyota car. The Civic and Corolla both come with the 1.8 Liter Inline four cylinder engines, which cannot be equated identical to the performance. The 2015 Civic is competent of 143 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of the torque at about 4300 RPM. This represents the real picture of outputs when compared with the capabilities of Toyota Corolla. The latest Corolla comes with the ability in order to achieve 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque at 4400 RPM. Here the Civic puts its engine for the better usage and it undoubtedly makes a significant difference.

 

General Specs: Honda Civic 2015 Toyota Corolla 2015
PRICE

 

$17,885

 

$17,230
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged and intercooled inline-4,

aluminum block and head

 

DOHC 16-valve inline-4,

aluminum block and head, direct injection

 

FUEL ECONOMY EPA city/highway driving (C/D est): 32/42 mpg

C/D observed: 28 mpg

EPA city/highway driving: 29/37 mpg

C/D observed: 24 mpg

 

So the now question is, which one provides you with a better ownership cost? Which one will cost you the least when talking about the expenses involved in maintenance services?

Let’s now compare Some common maintenance services that almost every car goes through:

How much does it cost for replacing the Side View Mirror?

The estimated cost for replacing the Side View Mirror which was accidentally swiped off by the truck that made a surprise move into the lane you were moving into, will cost approximately $150-$200 for the ones who owns Honda Civic 2015 and $250-$300 for those driving Toyota Corolla.

How much Does it cost for replacing the Bumpers?

The estimated cost for replacing the front or the back bumper of Honda Civic 2015 is $117-$225, whereas it will cost $300-$400 for the ones who own Toyota Corolla 2015.

What is the average cost of the Windshield Replacement?

The Windshield repair cost is not a fixed amount. It varies upon the type of the repair, type and severity of the damage and most importantly what auto glass service you go for.

So, the replacement or repair cost may be charged upto $507.69 to $571.99 for the ones who owns Honda Civic 2015 and $347.25- $479.80 for Toyota Corolla owners.

 

Other Maintenance Cost Comparison:

 

Maintenance Service Honda Civic 2015 (Cost) Toyota Corolla 2015 (Cost)
Battery Replacement $372 $497
Brake Pad Replacement $152 $149
AC Condenser $530 $429
Service Battery/ Cables $184 $150
Serpentine/ Drive Belt Replacement $110 $98

 

 

Conclusion:

So although the repair cost does differ for both the vehicles but it is not big enough a difference that can change your decision. specially when the automobiles compared are both very established brands in themselves. we will be more than happy to know your considerations.

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A New Beginning

As some of you know I have closed my business, ZP Auto, Inc. There is a great article on Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York about it. I am going to be switching this blog up a bit to be more inclusive of other service industries because lets face it, we’re getting screwed over everywhere we go. Have you called a plumber, electrician or even bought anything new that lasts more than 2 years? It’s a nightmare out there and I ask you to send me stories about what is happening to you and lets see if we can come up with any viable strategies to get through the process.

I will start with my own recent situation of the non draining dishwasher I purchased only 1 year and 3 months ago. I didn’t even install it for a few months so it should be still under warranty, ha!

dishwasher

After calling the manufacturer, I unbelievably was able to secure what is called a concession. This means that they are not really warranting the item, they are merely allowing through their kind heartedness, the ability for me to get this job done mostly for free. Now concessions are meted out by item, so there is a parts concession and a labor concession. These can be given out on an individual basis so make sure you ask for both. The downside to concessions is that the repair company can charge you for a visit so make sure that doesn’t happen either.

Just getting through to the repair company that the manufacturer refers you to can be time consuming. After numerous unsuccessful tries I finally called the manufacturer back and requested they get them on the line and conference us to figure out when they were coming (somehow they never answered the phone for me but did so right away for them). Before they arrive, if you can, try to make sure that there isn’t any detritus stuck where it shouldn’t be, this can cause your concession to go bye bye (take that drain cover off and clean out the inside of the well). One last piece of advice and this is a weird one, make sure your home is not too dirty. My conversation with the repairman led us to the topic of how some people’s homes are so filthy that they will automatically reject concessions (of course they don’t openly admit this) because they can use the excuse that the owner’s negligence caused the issue.

As with all my advice, be nice but be firm, get them on your side. Losing it almost never helps (I say almost because sometimes you can’t help it and it somehow just works).

I’m in the first phase of this process which means someone showed up and diagnosed the issue and I am now waiting 2 weeks for parts. I shouldn’t complain because at least we’re on the right track so far.

Please let me know of your stories and hopefully we can all work through this together.

Elayne

dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

 

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Mechanic Advisor Survey

Love this survey by Mechanic Advisor.  Now if we could just get mechanic shops to read it and change their shoddy ways.

A MechanicAdvisor.com survey analyzed over 900 visitor responses to determine customer behavior in relation to finding, using, and trusting automotive mechanic shops and the motivations for their choices.

BOSTON, MA (April 2014) – Nearly two-thirds of women searching for a mechanic say that reputation is the most important factor when making a decision on where to service their vehicle. In a survey conducted byMechanicAdvisor.com, a leading mechanic search engine, 62.1% of women named “reputation” as the most important thing they look for when choosing a mechanic.

Reputation was also the most important overall factor given by both men and women, with over 54% indicating it was the most important in their decision making process, followed by price (30.7%), communication (6%), speed of service (6%), cleanliness (2%), and honesty (0.7%).

However, when looking deeper into the data, there were some interesting results. 75% of people between the ages of 18-24 indicated “price” as the most important factor when choosing a mechanic, which was in stark contrast to people above the age of 65, of whom only 12.5% indicated “price” as the most important factor.

woman and mechanic

Trust

When it comes to trust, a common concern among prospective automotive repair customers, price was the most compelling factor. When asked “What is most likely to cause you to distrust a mechanic?” 40.7% of respondents indicated “higher than usual prices” as the leading factor. 22.7% of respondents named “negative online reviews” Among those above the age of 65, 35.7% said “negative online reviews” were the leading factor.

“Poor communication skills” and “Unclean shop and service area” tied for third place with 16.7% and 16% of respondents naming them as the most likely cause of distrust, respectively. And a “lack of an online presence” was named by 3.3% of respondents.

Finding a Mechanic

Unsurprisingly, the highest percentage of respondents found their last mechanic online, with over 32% indicating “online search” as the method they used to find their last mechanic. 50% of people between the ages of 35 and 44 found their mechanic through an online search.  A “referral from someone” was a close second with 30% answering as such, followed by “I drove by their shop and noticed it” (21.3%) and “print advertising” (12.6%) and “radio advertising” (3.3%) picking up the rest.

Frequency of Repair

Despite rapid advances in automotive technology, car owners still make frequent visits to mechanics for repairs. 70% of respondents say that they repair their car “2 or more times per year,” with slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) getting away with only “1 time per year.”

Interestingly enough, 17.3% of respondents answered “5 or more times per year” when asked for the frequency of repairs, although it’s unclear if this is a result of unreliable vehicles or poor preventative maintenance.

Types of Shops

When asked “What type of mechanic shop do you tend to trust most?” nearly half of respondents (46.7%) answered “Family-owned shops.” “Small one-owner shops” was a relatively close second with 30.7% of respondents. “Mobile (traveling) mechanics” got a 10% response with “Multi-shop chains” and “Nationwide corporate chains” garnering 6% and 4% respectively.

Most Influential

When asked “Which of the following would be most influential to you when deciding where to repair your vehicle?” the top overall results were “Recommendation from family/friend” (26%) and “Online shop reviews” (24%).

“Low price” (22.7%) and “Convenience of location”(18.7%) were followed by “Gut instinct” (5.3%) as the other most influential factors.

When looking deeper into the data, it’s revealed that 33% of women indicated “Online shop reviews” as their most influential criteria, and out of people aged 18-24, 42.9% responded with “Online shop reviews.”

Methodology

MechanicAdvisor.com analyzed data from a several month-long survey from over 900 visitor responses in order to determine customer behavior in relation to finding, using, and trusting automotive mechanic shops and the motivations for their choices.

About MechanicAdvisor.com

MechanicAdvisor.com is the largest online mechanic database in the US. Founded in 2006, it has grown into a premier website for consumers to research and connect with reputable local mechanics for routine and specialty automotive repair. The MechanicAdvisor.com website features customer reviews, articles, and detailed profiles of over 500,000 mechanics across the country. Mechanic Advisor is headquartered in Boston, MA.

 

http://www.mechanicadvisor.com/articles/survey-when-looking-for-a-mechanic-reputation-is-key

 

questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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