* Always consult your vehicle owner’s manual for individual service schedules as manufacturer maintenance requirements may vary greatly.
Write down notes on your vehicle’s symptoms and performance before taking it to a repair facility so important information is not overlooked or forgotten. Include all observations, even if they seem silly or irrelevant.
Describe the symptoms to the technician rather than solutions. Explains what has been seen, smelled, heard and felt while driving the vehicle. For example, have you smelled a new odor, does it vibrate or pull to the left? Explain with as much detail as possible, such as what driving conditions the problem occurs in and how long ago it started.
Try to be precise when describing the problem. For example, if the problem only happens on cold days or if the rattle under the hood starts at 40 mph.
Resist the temptation to use technical jargon unless absolutely sure what it means.
If the vehicle has been serviced recently, bring in copies of the previous repair orders rather than trying to explain what work was done.
Ask questions if the technician uses jargon that is not understood or if something is not clearly explained. A quality automotive technician should be willing to take time to clearly explain the problem and solution.
Always read the repair order before signing it and authorizing any work. Look for specific instructions detailing the maintenance to be done, or the condition to be corrected and work to be performed. If the language is vague or unclear, such as ‘fix engine noise,’ ask that it be rewritten. A diagnosis may need to be performed and an estimate then provided before a final repair is authorized.
Read over the bill and question any charges that are not clear. Insist on descriptions of parts, not just the serial numbers; be listed on the final invoice.
Before authorizing a repair, be sure to obtain a written description of the warranty the shop provides, including the warranty on parts as well as labor. Most repairs should carry a warranty of at least 6 months or 6,000 miles.