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Repair and Warranty Tips
What should I look for when choosing a repair shop for my car?
- Ask for recommendations from
friends, family, and other people you trust. Look for an auto repair
shop before you need one to avoid being rushed into a last-minute decision.
If you buy your car used or preowned, ask the dealer where your car
used to be serviced at the vehicle service maintenance history report.
Many big dealership can pull out service history of cars that has been
serviced in their place. Lexus has a very good service history online
database. You can go to their web site and after registration and confirmation
of ownership, you can pull out the service history. Don't make a mistake
of buying a used car without asking this report or service receipt from
the previous owner.
- I learned this the hard
way. The previous owner of my car seemed honest and said that he
has done all the required service maintenance up to 120,000 miles.
And he showed me the 120,000 mile maintenance receipt from a local
Lexus dealer, but what he did not tell me was that his wife (its
his wife car) refused to repair many recommended repair for wear
and tear (cracked and old) parts that need to be replaced soon.
I asked the dealer to quote me for the repair and came up with over
$5000 estimate. Well, what at first seemed like a good deal on a
used car became not a good deal. So I went to my friend auto repair
shop and fixed it there and end up with $2000 invoice, which is
not bad compared to the dealers's inflated charged.
- Shop around by telephone for
the best deal, and compare warranty policies on repairs. Go visit www.Auto-Extended-Warranty.com
for detailed report and articles on how to find auto warranty and get
your car fixed free. Learn the about secret warranty that is enforced
- Ask if the technician auto mechanics
or auto service shop has experience working on the same make or model
vehicle as yours. You don't want un-trained mechanics to work
on the engine or moving parts of your car. There have been many auto
accidents happened because of failure in the engine, brake, transmission
and many other parts that was not fixed correctly. A work done by a
certified auto service will preserve the warranty on your car.
Car Fact VIN Check - vehicle history report find out if
a car is a lemon, which might explain the continuous problem you have
on the car.
Car Repair Charges: Unlocking
- Before you arrange to have any
work performed, ask how the shop prices its work. Some shops charge
a flat rate for labor on auto repairs. This published rate is based
on an independent or manufacturer's estimate of the time required to
complete repairs. Others charge on the basis of the actual time the
technician worked on the repair.
- If you need expensive or complicated
repairs, or if you have questions about recommended work, consider getting
a second opinion.
- Find out if there will be a
diagnostic charge if you decide to have the work performed elsewhere.
Many repair shops charge for diagnostic time.
- Shops that do only diagnostic
work and do not sell parts or repairs may be able to give you an objective
opinion about which repairs are necessary.
- If you decide to get the work
done, ask for a written estimate.
What should a written estimate
on car repair include?
- It should identify the condition
to be repaired, the parts needed, and the anticipated labor charge.
Make sure you get a signed copy.
- It should state that the shop
will contact you for approval before they do any work exceeding a specified
amount of time or money. State law may require this.
What do I need after the repair work is done?
- Get a completed repair order
describing the work done. It should list each car repair, parts
supplied, the cost of each part, labor charges, and the vehicle's odometer
reading when you brought the vehicle in as well as when the repair order
was completed. The odometer reading is important to note as there have
been many incidents where some irresponsible mechanics had been abusing
cars by driving them at high speed and unnecessary for the car test.
Luckily, a few of them was caught and fired. Ask for all replaced parts.
State law may require this.
TIPS TO REMEMBER
these six tips may help you when your vehicle is in the shop:
LEAVE THE REPAIR FACILITY without a copy
of the work orders. A complete record of the vehicle history is very important,
especially with repeated problems. Although not absolutely necessary to
prove your claim at a later date, copies of the records prevent the dealer
from writing several repair visits as one, a common practice.
ASK ABOUT TSBs
- TSB(Technical Service Bulletins) are instructions from the manufacturer
that alert dealerships about defects or repairs in certain models. However,
dealerships do not generally tell the customer about TSBs unless asked!
So speak up. Ask the dealership to write your TSB request on the repair
order even if told no TSBs exist for the concerns you are experiencing.
paid a lot for your vehicle...so don't be afraid to go over anyone's head
if your vehicle isn't repaired properly. Part of the price of the car
is the warranty service for which repairs are being made. You paid for
it, you should get your moneys worth.
At present, the Federal Trade Commission has determined that no manufacturer
has in place an "arbitration program" which complies with Federal minimum
standards. What this means is that the FTC finds these programs to be
unfair to consumers.
DON'T BE MISLED-In
some situations, the dealership may claim that the consumer is causing
the problem. This is a common tactic when the dealership cannot fix the
problem or the manufacturer has no repair to correct the condition. Ask
about the TSBs as stated above and stick to your guns. Your situation
is not as unique as the dealership represents.
Read and understand the warranty
BEFORE the sale/lease. Make sure you know exactly what is covered and
for how long. Before taking delivery of your new vehicle, inspect it.
If any problems are noticed, refuse delivery until they are corrected.
Read, understand and follow maintenance requirements in the owner's manual.
Keep records of all car maintenance to prove, if necessary, the defect
was not caused by your abuse or negligence. If problems develop, contact
the dealer as soon as possible. Keep a record of the date and nature of
all repairs made to your car. Be sure to obtain a copy of the service
order from the dealer stating exactly what repairs were made to your vehicle.
Keep a record of all contacts made to the dealer or manufacturer. Keep
copies of all letters and records of all telephone calls. This may later
help prove what was said and may also avoid misunderstandings.
What Steps Should
1. When you buy your car, read
your warranty and owner's manual carefully. Follow all maintenance guidelines.
2. When you notice a defect, take
the vehicle to an authorized dealer for repairs as soon as possible. Prepare
and leave a detailed list describing each defect each time you take the
vehicle in for repair. Keep a copy for yourself.
3. Get repair orders for all warranty
work. Ask for detailed repair orders and keep them.
4. Be sure the repair orders show
how many days the vehicle was in the shop.
5. Keep a personal record of the
number of days the vehicle is in the shop, dates, and mileage.
6. Keep a record of all related
expenses, such as towing charges and rental car fees, and save all receipts.
7. After the third repair for the
same defect or if the vehicle has been out of service for 15 business
days, notify the manufacturer and the finance company in writing (if you
have not done so already) and send the notification by certified mail,
return receipt requested. Ask the manufacturer to have the car fixed.
Send a copy to the dealer. You will probably find the address of the manufacturer
in your warranty or owner's manual or you can get it from the dealer.
8. Keep copies of all correspondence.
9. Do not return the car or stop
making payments. Talk to an attorney if you are at this point.
What About Arbitration?
Many auto manufacturers have established
dispute resolution programs for customers with warranty problems. Some
require you to use these programs before you go to court. Some do not.
Read your warranty to see if the manufacturer has established a "dispute
resolution" program and if you must use it before going to court.
Ford and Chrysler operate their own programs. As of October 1, 1992, the
following manufacturers participate in an arbitration program run by the
Better Business Bureau: Acura, Audi, General Motors (all divisions), Honda,
Infiniti, Isuzu, Nissan, Saab/Scania, Saturn, Sterling, and Volkswagen.
If your warranty requires you to use the dispute resolution program, follow
the instructions in the warranty to start the procedure. If your warranty
does not require dispute resolution, decide if you want to try it.
Seeing a Lawyer
If arbitration fails, or if you
did not have to use arbitration and did not want to, you should consider
seeing a private attorney. Many people are reluctant to do this, but we
encourage it. Some manufacturers, unfortunately, do not take consumer
complaints too seriously until they hear from an attorney. Your attorney
can advise you best what to do with the car and whether to stop making
The lemon law provides that you
can recover triple damages and attorney's fees if the manufacturer is
found to have unreasonably refused to resolve your complaint.
You are, of course, welcome to
contact the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General's Office.
The Attorney General's Office can provide you or your attorney with useful
information, or we can try to mediate your complaint. However, it cannot
act as private counsel to particular individuals. The Attorney General
is interested in receiving information from individuals regarding how
manufacturers handle these matters because the Attorney General can sue
to enforce the lemon law when the public interest requires it.
Extended warranty resources:
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