Most Commonly asked questions to a car mechanic about maintenance and repair

Car Maintenance is an easy-sounding task. However, being an intricate topology of machines, fuels and electrical components, it’s a bit more complicated than you think! Customers often throw tons of questions at us about repairs and maintenance. Having excelled in this business for so long, our experience and knowledge speaks for us. Here are a few questions we are most commonly asked-

How often should I change my oil?

The general recommendation is to change the oil regularly after every 3,000 miles opposed to synthetic oil, which should be changed every 5,000 miles. Although to ensure the smooth running of your vehicle it is suggested to check the oil once each month. Remember, it’s essential to maintain and change the oil in your vehicle on a regular basis.

How often do I need to change the antifreeze?

It is advised to change the vehicle’s antifreeze fluid once in every 2 to 3 years or after every 30,000 miles. Nevertheless, it is best to check your vehicle’s antifreeze and fluid levels every month during the summers.

How often should I change my wiper blades?

Good condition wiper blades ensure proper and clear vision which in turn means safer driving. One should consider changing the wiper blades keeping in mind all the factors, including the amount of time your vehicle is kept indoors. For vehicles that spend most of the time inside, replacing them once a year is suitable. As for vehicles that spend a lot of time outside exposed to dust and other elements, it is advisable to change them 2-3 times a year.

Why are my brakes making noise?

Noisy brakes usually imply hazardous brakes, and thus puts your safety at risk. If at any given point you suspect that the brakes are making a suspicious noise, it is necessary to get the brakes checked and get a proper service done if required. 

What should you look for when choosing a repair shop?

One should consider the following things while choosing a repair shop- 

  • Make sure the shop you select is licensed or registered. It is always recommended to check the current licenses as well.
  • The shop should have the equipment and enough manpower required to perform any kind of repairs needed.
  • The repair shop should honour your vehicle’s warranty.
  • It is best to have a shop decided beforehand to avoid rush at the eleventh hour.

Is one technician better than another?*

Shops displaying various certifications indicate that most of their technicians are eligible and have proved their competence in the required technical areas. Ensuring that certificates are recent and hold true is important. However, the most efficient way to find the best technician is trying 2-3 repair shops to establish where your vehicle is being handled in the best way possible.

When should you get a second opinion?                                                             

  • There is always a need for extra repairs than just the one specific issue you take your vehicle for. Thus, if you are uncertain it is best to go for a second opinion. 
  • Referring to your vehicle’s manual can also help you get a second opinion.
  • It is the best to get an estimate of repair cost or second opinion for costly or complex repairs.
  • Repair places charging for diagnosis time can always have a second option to them.
  • Shops only into testing and diagnosis can give you an honest opinion about the required repairs.

What should be included in an estimate?

  • It is essential to have a signed estimate cost for the work to be done on your vehicle. This should cover all the issues in the vehicle to be solved, new parts if required and the expected labour charge.
  •  If at all the cost exceeds the estimated cost, it becomes the responsibility of the repair shop to inform   you first and take your approval before exceeding the previously specified amount and time.
  • Make certain you are well aware of the cost method the repair shop uses. Some shops tend to charge for labour charges even when the repairs to be made are auto repairs. Best to ask the cost method beforehand.

After your repair is done, what do you need?

Once the repairs are done, it is always suggested to get a detailed list describing all the repairs that were done. This should be inclusive of every repair, cost of parts used, labor charges, vehicle’s odometer reading before and after the repair is done.

What are the consequences of postponing maintenance?

Negligence towards regular maintenance can often lead to failure or under performance of parts which in turn can gradually lead to destroying the entire system. Ignoring even the smallest of maintenance service that needs to be taken care of  could lead to low average, frequent breakdowns and could discredit the warranty of your vehicle.

What maintenance guidelines should you follow to avoid costly repairs?

  • The most suggested and efficient way to avoid costly repairs is to get your vehicle go regular maintenance services and checks. The best way to do so is by following the maintenance schedule that comes with the user’s manual. This ensures regular servicing and repairing of even little parts which in due course prevent costly repairs. If you don’t have a user’s manual that gives the schedule, it is best for you to ask your manufacturer to give you one.
  • If you are following a repair shop’s maintenance schedule chances are that it calls for more frequent servicing than what is specified by your manufacturer. Best to ask your repair shop the reason behind the frequent servicing. Make sure you understand why it recommends service beyond the recommended schedule and make an informed decision.

Why is it important to have regular car maintenance?

To keep your vehicle as smooth running, newer as the very first day you bought it, regular car maintenance is a must. It also helps avoid more costly expenses and trouble later on. Even as the miles rack up, regular maintenance will make certain an optimal performance delivered at all times. It will also help in long lasting automobile parts and save money in future. 

What are the most common maintenance items you recommend?

  • Axle fluid exchange
  • Coolant fluid exchange
  • Filter (air, cabin air, fuel) replacement
  • Routine parts and fluid inspections
  • Spark plug replacement
  • Timing belt replacement
  • Tire rotations and alignments
  • Transmission fluid exchange

This often can differ for your vehicle and model. Best to refer to your manual guide prior servicing.

What are the most frequent maintenance mistakes you’ve seen?                     

The use of inefficient labor and low quality maintenance parts. Also, waiting duration can be too long between maintenance visits.

How long do bulbs typically last?

This often depends on the type bulb being used. Halogen bulbs have a long life but are usually more expensive to repair or replace. Filament bulbs require to be changed more often but are not very costly.

How do I know when to replace tires?

Tread depth and abnormal wear determines the need to replace the in use tires. It is recommended that the tires of your vehicle should be measured at every oil change. Other serious tire damage from curb and road hazards might call for an unscheduled and immediate replacement.

What are the signs before brake problems?

A shudder or vibration while pressing on the brakes are clear signs of a problem. If you feel that your vehicle is not responding efficiently or if it is taking longer to slow down the car it is best to have the entire system checked. With regular maintenance, frequent brake inspections are important as well.

When is it time for a new battery? 

This can differ from car to car depending upon the usage and driving frequency and habits.The battery lifeline will also rely on the type of battery installed. Most of the new vehicle manufacturers guarantee the battery life of 2 years. A battery life charging check to always be made during your regular maintenance visits. 

Does the expense of car maintenance really “pay off” in the long run?

Most definitely. Regular maintenance is the best step you can take for your vehicle for both longer life and cost saving purposes. Regular maintenance will protect you from the need to replace expensive parts. The maintenance service serves as a doctor here who we go to for regular checkups to ensure well being throughout.

What maintenance items are most commonly recommended by the manufacturer?

  • Axle fluid exchange
  • Coolant fluid exchange
  • Filter (air, cabin air, fuel) replacement
  • Routine parts and fluid inspections
  • Spark plug replacement
  • Timing belt replacement
  • Tire rotations and alignments
  • Transmission fluid exchange

This often can differ for your vehicle and model. Best to refer to your manual guide provided by the manufacturer.

How much extra fuel is burned when using the a/c?

While using A/C in a usual car, it is estimated that fuel economy decreases by one or two miles per gallon. For bigger vehicles or when traveling in extreme heat conditions, running the A/C can reduce the fuel economy up to four miles per gallon.

Should you turn your car off when stopped for extended periods?

You should not leave your car engine switched on unnecessarily for more than a minute or two. It takes much less fuel to start a car than it takes to let it idle while waiting. If you have parked somewhere waiting for a little while,best to shut off the engine.

How long should you warm the engine before driving?

Fuel-injected engines shouldn’t stay idle for more than a 60 seconds before driving again. Fifteen to thirty seconds is really all it needs, in all kinds of weather conditions. An exception should be made for a vehicle about to pull a heavy load. In such a case, allowing the engine to stay idle for about five minutes in order to let the oil become adequately warm.

Will it damage my engine if I continue to drive my car with the check engine light on?

If your check engine light is switched on while driving, it mostly will not damage your vehicle if you continue to your destination. You should, however, make it a point to bring your car in for a maintenance check as soon as possible to make sure that there is no serious issue with your vehicle.

How Serious are Warning Lights?

When warning lights come on, it is the car’s way of communicating that something might go wrong. So it becomes imperative to take the warning signals seriously once discovered. There are several warning light signals that you should be aware of. Some of these include- the brake system warning light, engine warning light, airbag warning light, power steering warning light, battery charge warning light, and oil warning lights.. Warning lights should be taken very seriously. If any light pops up on your dashboard, it should be looked out for right away. Regular checks and maintenance services can help protect your vehicle from getting faulty, so keeping a close eye on warning lights will save you money and expensive repair bills.

My Car Won’t Start, What Should I Do?

Another common issue involves cars not starting and this happens for a variety of reasons with the most prevalent of them being a possible dead battery. In instances like when your car won’t start, the first thing to do is open the hood and check the battery. A dead battery is the most common reason behind cars not starting. Sometimes the fix is quite simple, whereas other times it can be a more complicated issue. Try to jumpstart the car and if it starts, you’ll know that the old battery needs to be replaced. If it still doesn’t start, contact your technician or mechanic to diagnose the issue further as other factors might be at play.

At What Point is a Car Beyond Repair?

Any car becoming beyond repair economically speaking is when it would cost more to repair it or maintain the car than it would to buy an equivalent. In cases such as these where it won’t be cost effective to keep buying replacement parts, the owner should most definitely evaluate less expensive options.

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