Even if you consider yourself to be the best driver you know, there’s always the potential for something to happen on the road, and often without warning.
It’s estimated that rear collisions happen on roads in the United States every eight seconds, so there’s always a high potential for a car accident. As if that wasn’t enough, there are unexpected breakdowns, bad weather, car-animal collisions, and numerous other reasons why people might be in need of car repairs.
Regardless of what kind of work you need done, you’re probably wondering how to get your car fixed, so you can get back on the road as quickly as possible.
If you are wondering how to get your car fixed, the good news is you have plenty of options at your disposal, whether you want to have someone else fix it or you want to do the repairs yourself.
Finding A Good Mechanic
Let’s face it: there are plenty of car repairs out there that require the hands and experience of an expert. The good news is that there are more than 600,000 car mechanics in the United States, so you’ve got thousands of options for finding the right place to take care of your car.
But finding the right auto body shop can take some time and knowing what to look for can help you find a place that will address your immediate needs as well as any future issues you may encounter. They’ve got access to tools such as compressors, welders and other high-end equipment, not to mention their years of experience.
Ask Lots Of Questions
You may think that finding a good auto repair shop is as simple as walking into one of your local places, telling them your problem, and having them fix it. Sometimes it really can be that simple, especially if you need a simple repair done. But let’s say your car needs more extensive work. Let’s say your serpentine belt has broken and you need a steering repair to fix your car’s power steering.
When that happens, you need to ask questions. If you know next to nothing about cars, you need to ask questions and then ask more questions. Why? You need to know exactly what’s being done to your car and what needs to be fixed. Even if you’re in the dark about the finer points of car repair, you don’t just want to take someone’s word for it. You need to ask if a particular auto repair shop offers written warranties, and what kinds of other services they may offer.
Even as you’re wondering how to get your car fixed, you need to stay sharp and make sure you don’t get taken advantage of. A good mechanic or auto shop will be open and honest with you about any car repairs you need and how much it will cost to fix those issues. Some kinds of car repairs are going to cost more than others, but before you have any work done, you need to get estimates. You need to know what’s being done and what it’s going to cost so you’re not blindsided by what might seem like a simple repair.
Think About Location
As you try and figure out how to get your car fixed, you’re going to be thinking about who’s going to fix your car. But you also need to think about where your car is getting repaired. If you know even a little bit about car repair, then you know that a lot of the money you pay is tied to labor costs.
Depending on where you live, that might mean that you’re forking over quite a bit of money in labor costs alone. Most repair shops have guides that determine the approximate time and cost of various repairs and some shops can charge more if they have a higher overhead. Going to a specialist for something like transmission repair can be very beneficial since a transmission gives your car the power to move. But if that specialist is out of your immediate area, you may end up paying a little more in overall costs.
Ask For Recommendations
These days, people get recommendations for just about anything: places to visit for vacation, places to eat, places to get a haircut, and even which babysitters to watch their kids. Why not apply the same kind of detective work when it comes to finding out how to get your car fixed?
If you’ve got a friend who swears by a particular mechanic, take that recommendation to the bank. The place your friend recommends may not be a chain shop or in the biggest building, but at the end of the day you need your car fixed by experienced hands who know how to handle any problem.
Trust Your Instincts
There’s no doubt that they are hundreds of mechanics that can fix complex issues like wheel alignment in any car. But when it comes to finding the right place for you and your car, you might be best going with your gut. If you get an uneasy feeling about a place or feel that a place is gouging you for all it can get, you might be better off elsewhere. It’s true, you need your car repaired and you want to get back on the road, but it’s your money that you’re spending, so be confident in your choice of a shop before you write a check or swipe your credit card.
Make Sure You Have Insurance
Car accidents happen suddenly and a lot more frequently than all of us would like. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, one of the first things you’re probably going to think about is how to get your car fixed.
As you’re thinking about that, you’re going to need to find a repair shop. This is why it pays to have a solid accident insurance policy. Most insurance companies provide coverage for you in the event of an accident, which means all you’ll have to pay is a deductible—usually around $500. Without insurance, you’ll be on the hook for some hefty car repairs. Even simple repairs like replacing a mirror can be as much as $100. With a good auto insurance policy, you’ll have your car fixed up at an affordable price.
Fix Your Car Yourself
There’s no doubt that auto repair shops across the United States do lots of good work to get Americans back on the road quickly. But if consider yourself to be mechanically inclined, another solution for how to get your car fixed is to make repairs yourself.
Why You Need To Fix Your Car
You might think that fixing your car yourself is impossible, but with a little know-how, you can do it and there are good reasons why you need your car fixed:
- You’ll stay safe
- You’ll save money
- You’ll get better overall performance from your car
- You’ll increase your car’s value
Fixing Your Car At Home
As you’ve read, dozens of different car repairs can be made and some of them are too complex to do at home. But there are a great many repairs you can make at home, which will enhance your knowledge of your car, save you some money, and allow you to feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Changing Your Car’s Oil
One of the most popular reasons anyone visits a dealership or an auto repair shop is to get an oil change. But if you’ve got the right materials and a little patience, you can change your oil right in your driveway.
You’ve likely heard recommendations about how often you need to change the oil in your car; probably something in the neighborhood of every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If you’re going to change your oil, here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Make sure your car is in park
- Make sure the engine is off
- Go underneath your car and find the oil pan
- Once that’s been located, unscrew the drain plug and let the oil drain into a pan
- Once the oil has finished draining, put the drain plug back in.
- Locate and replace your oil filter
- Add new oil to your engine and ensure it’s at the right level by checking the dipstick
It’s important to note that if you’re unsure what materials you’ll need—oil and oil filters specifically—visit a local auto parts store. The employees there should be able to give you exactly what you’re looking for based on the type of vehicle you have.
Changing A Car Battery
If the oil is a car’s blood, then the battery is the heart and every so often, you need to care for the hard. The last place you want to find yourself is stuck on the side of the road because your car battery is dead.
If you’re going to replace your car battery, you need to remove the battery terminals and clean them up. You can find all kinds of home remedies online, but some common ones are Coca-Cola or a mixture of baking soda and water. Once the terminals are removed, you can remove the battery and replace it with a new one before attaching the clean terminals, which will help generate more electricity for your car.
Applying Touch-Up Paint
When you think of all the options for how to get your car fixed, you probably think of under the hood repairs and major reconstruction in the event of an accident. But for many car owners, there’s nothing worse than nicks, dents, and scratches. Some estimates have shown that more than half of all reported car damage involves scratched paint.
If it’s applied right, touch-up paint can help your scratches disappear, so you can do some quick auto paint repair at home.
Once you find the right color paint (and it can sometimes be tricky), you’ll need to:
- Wash your car
- Check for any rust spots
- Apply grease remover and wax
- Sand around the area where a scratch is—usually with 220-grit sandpaper
- Wash your car again and make sure it’s dry
- Use rust arrestor and primer in the spot you’re going to paint
- Apply the paint in the needed area in at least two to three layers
Fix Your Driveway
When you think about how to get your car fixed, you may not immediately think about your driveway. But cracks in the pavement and uneven areas can be potentially hazardous spots for your car to be.
Thankfully, you can visit your local home improvement store and get everything you need, even materials for commercial paving. Assuming you have a concrete driveway, you can pick up some concrete fillers, mixers, and resurfacers to make your driveway look good as new. This way you won’t have to deal with an unsightly driveway or risk something happening to your car.
Train Yourself Up
One of the great things about thinking about how to get your car fixed and DIY auto repairs is that there’s so much you can learn. If you’re going to repair rust and cracks in an aging vehicle, for example, you can welding courses so that those areas become easy fixes. Many people view them as too time-consuming, but they’re not that hard to fix.
You can get a welder for as little as $150 at a home improvement store and because there are different types of welding, it may be best to ask which kind you need. If you’re totally new to welding, many places do offer classes in different types of home improvement, so you can get the materials and the knowledge you need all in one spot.
It’s All Up To You
As you think about how to get your car fixed, know that you have a plethora of options. By visiting a local auto repair shop, you’ll gain a better understanding of what’s wrong with your car and what needs to be done to fix it. While you might end up paying a lot or a little to have it fixed, it will be done by folks who know what they’re doing.
On the other hand, there are many car repairs you can do right in the comfort of your own garage or driveway. By learning basic skills such as how to change a battery, changing your oil, and even fixing scratches, you’ll feel accomplished and gain hands-on experience that will serve you well for many years to come.