| A poll of ASE-certified automotive technicians indicated that drivers over 60 are among the most conscientious when it comes to taking their vehicles in for routine maintenance and repair. |
The experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) remind consumers that good communication between shop and customer can help make the repair process go smoothly.
"Professionally run repair establishments recognize the importance of two-way communications," notes Martin Lawson, ASE's editorial director. "Just as you would with your physician, be prepared to discuss your vehicle's aches and pains once you are at the repair shop."
The following tips from ASE should make the repair process go smoothly:
Don't ignore what your vehicle is telling you. Look for:
* Unusual sounds, odors, drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge readings.
* Changes in acceleration, engine performance, gas mileage, fluid levels.
* Worn tires, belts and hoses.
* Problems in handling, braking, steering, vibrations.
* Note when the problem occurs and whether it is constant or periodic.
Stay involved; communicate your findings:
* Be prepared to describe any symptoms. In larger shops, you'll probably speak with a service consultant rather than with the technician directly.
* Carry a written list of the symptoms that you can give to the technician or service consultant.
* Do not be embarrassed to request simple definitions of technical terms.
* Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, course of action and costs before work begins.
* Before you leave, make a note of shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.
* Keep a record of all repairs and service.
ASE was founded to improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians can be found at every type of repair facility; certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification, while their employers display the blue and white ASE sign. For more information, including seasonal car care tips, visit www.ase.com .