Finding the Best Local Automotive Services and What to Expect

Everyone has heard at least once in their lifetime that their vehicle needs to be serviced. Typically, those simple words strike with such force that it may feel like you have been punched in the stomach. Instantly, your mind rushes to the amount of money that is currently in your checking account, and you worry about how much this particular service is going to set you back. Not all automotive service experiences should result in this reaction.

During any given year, you should keep your car regularly serviced in order to prevent disastrous consequences. For instance, every 6,000 miles, you must get your oil changed. If you fail to do this, you run the possibility of gumming up your motor and having to replace the entire motor at a price that it would cost you to get your oil changed regularly for an entire year. In addition, you should also have your tires rotated every 6,000 miles or so and have your front end adjusted regularly. By taking these preventive measures, you will not only reduce your fuel costs from month to month, but you will also avoid regular, expensive, and unnecessary car repairs.

Even though these are just a few of the car issues that have to be checked regularly, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find an automotive repair center that you trust where you will be well-treated. Automotive services are plentiful in most large cities, and they usually even be found on every other street corner. Most technicians are aware that being without your car for any amount of time can be throw off your entire daily routine. Finding ways to get to work, to pick up the kids, and even to go to the grocery store can be difficult. As a result, it’s very important to find an automotive service center that understands these problems and helps you find a solution to them.

Many companies offering automotive services have vehicles that customers can borrow in order to function in their normal daily capacities while their vehicles are being repaired. In some situations, service centers will drop their customers off wherever they need to go in order to keep their routine intact. Therefore, it is important for you as a consumer to not simply go to the first automotive service center you see.

There are plenty of great automotive services, but when it comes to your car, don’t hesitate to shop around and find the one that is proud to call you their customer. Ask around, read reviews, and decide which automotive service center is best for your car. Then, keep your vehicle up to date so that when you hear that your car needs service, you won’t instantly think about how much it’s going to cost you. Your car will thank you for it!

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Automotive Service Facility Secrets That Will Save You Money

I want to talk a little about automotive diagnostic costs and how they get passed on to the average consumer along with the reasons behind this. The inner workings of Automotive service centers are very similar in some aspects and very different in others. Some service centers really try to give the best customer service available while others will charge you for every bit of time that they can scrape up and not even look back.

  • Not all Automotive diagnostic strategies are equal.

The truth about diagnostics is that technicians will not always treat them the same way. There are always different points of view and unfortunately just because you retrieve a certain fault code, the part it points to may not in fact be the failed part. The technician will use his own experiences to diagnose the problem and not necessarily the “text- book” method depending upon the skill set of the tech.

  • Technicians need to feed their families.

The technician, like anyone else, needs to feed his family and in the automotive service profession the techs are paid by the book hour. This means that they receive a small amount of time to diagnose the problem and the standard “book” time to replace the part. This is where things tend to go wrong as the technician is forced to “beat the clock” to diagnose and repair your vehicle.

  • Parts Swapping

When the technician is faced with a fault that is unusual and has to spend a fair amount of time on it, this is where you start to pay. It is not that the technician is untrained or inexperienced, but rather that he or she may have to ask for extra time or start swapping parts which you may end up paying for.

  • Paying for more than you needed

Nobody usually minds paying a little extra if the technician has run into a problem and needs more time, but it is when the fifth part that was replaced has fixed the problem and you are faced paying for the other 4 possibly unnecessary parts. This happens because the technician must fix the vehicle as promptly as possible to get paid and move on to the next job.

  • Be smart about your repairs

When you bring your vehicle in for diagnostic work such as a check engine light, air conditioning, abs light, air bag light, etc. always and I repeat “ALWAYS” tell the service center to call you after they have put an hours worth of time in and convey to you where they are at with the vehicle at that time. At that point you can make a determination where the technician is at in diagnosing your vehicle and you can then decide how much more time you are willing to let him spend on it. Don’t be afraid to push the service adviser into telling you whether he is close or not.

  • Paying for parts you did NOT need

There are many instances where the technician will put 2, 3, or 4 parts on the vehicle and say that they were all contributors of the problem and it seemed to get a little better as each one was replaced. From my experience this is possible only when the vehicle is just so old and neglected or there was consequential damage as something took out a multitude of parts and it usually wasn’t any of the parts but some other underlying problem. Again you should instruct the service adviser to call you as soon as they suspect a part and want to replace it and if it is not the problem will you be charged for that part.

  • Generally dealerships will treat you better

Automotive service dealerships normally will be more expensive, but are large enough to usually work with you on possibly splitting the time of the diagnosis. If it was an extensive diagnosis they may consider “eating” some of the time and NOT charge you for any parts that did not fix the vehicle. There are many independent service shops that will grant this negotiation to you, but in my experience there were not as many.

Everyone needs to get their vehicle serviced at some point or another and being aware of the situation will greatly help you in the long run. If you experience a situation that you are not so sure of and need a little advice, be sure to drop us a line at the company website.

How to Pursue a Career in Automotive and Diesel

The automotive and diesel industry supplies several educational training opportunities to students that have a desire to work on automobiles. Students can learn how to pursue a career in automotive and diesel by completing a program based on a particular area of the field such as auto body repair. Vocational colleges offer training programs that teach students to understand automotive and diesel components from a professional standpoint.

Pursing education takes multiple steps, the most important of which is to complete a degree program. Before students can enter that step however they need to decide which area of the industry is for them. Many students know what area of the field to enter to make their goals a reality. Students that don’t know which area of the field they would like to pursue should take the time to research their options. This step will tell students what educational programs they need to complete as well as what level of training needs to be worked through. Automotive and diesel training is predominantly offered at vocational colleges.

Once an area of study is selected students can move onto completing programs. This second and highly imperative step is the only way to gain entry into many career fields. The next step is worked through once students complete training, which is gaining any necessary certification or licensure. For example, automotive service technicians typically need to obtain certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Technicians before being hired by employers. This certification centers on subject areas that include knowledge of electrical systems, manual transmissions, and brakes. Each part of the industry has its own professional requirements that students need to be aware of before graduating from programs. After these primary steps are completed students are ready to enter the automotive and diesel industry.

Common programs can include:

*Auto Body

Mechanics in this part of the field work exclusively on the cosmetic repairs that are associated with structural and interior parts of cars and light trucks. Coursework covers non-structural damage, panel repair, body filling, glass repair, anti-collision technology, and more. Students learn the procedures followed to estimate repair costs and understand the limits of repairs on damaged areas.

*Automotive Service Management

Programs in this area are typically for students that have years of experience being automotive and diesel professionals because they understand how to work on steering, engine repair, and more. Training focuses on taking work experience and applying it to an education in management. Students work through courses that enable them to maintain businesses by facilitating the employee and service areas of the industry.

*Diesel Mechanics

Students learn to maintain and repair diesel-operated vehicles. This includes large trucks, heavy equipment, cranes, and more. Courses provide students with the knowledge to work on engines that are incorporated into transportation, farming, and construction industries. Hydraulics, suspensions, and diagnostics are some topics studied.

Students can start pursuing their desired careers by deciding which accredited automotive and diesel schools and colleges are for them. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence accredits programs that offer quality training for professional careers. Training will have students becoming professionals in two years or less so begin the process of education today.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

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