5 Easy Steps That’ll Make You Smart About Auto Repairs

Oil Change
Audra Fordin, owner of Women Auto Know, checking the oil

Mechanic and Expert Audra Fordin Shares Her Auto Repair Secrets

Most drivers neglect their automobile’s needs. Are you one of them? If so, don’t feel bad. Life gets busy. It’s hard enough to find time to take care of yourself, your home and your family, much less your car. Good news: prevention doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 5 easy ways to prevent car breakdowns and auto repairs.

1. Pay attention

This might sound like a strange thing to say. Let me explain:

One thing I’ve learned as a mechanic is that most drivers don’t pay attention. Cars express themselves when they get sick.

That could come in the form of a mysterious noise, nasty odor, poor handing, or a combination of those. Be mindful of what your vehicle is trying to tell you. Go to a mechanic the second something is wrong.

2. Prepare for the worst

Auto Repair

New tires keep your car running more smoothly. Save up so their expense won’t break the bank. Credit: Scotty Reiss for AGirlsGuidetoCars

This won’t prevent auto repairs entirely (hint: that’s impossible), but it will make them less painful.

I’m always amazed by the look of surprise on a driver’s face when I tell them how much money new tires cost.  I get it. They ARE expensive. But newsflash: vehicle ownership comes with financial responsibilities.

You know this. Take action today: find a jar and put it on your bedroom counter. Empty your pockets into it every day. It won’t seem like much now, but your car jar will be locked and loaded this time next year.

3. Invest in preventive services

It’s tempting to skip an oil change when money is tight.

“Skip” isn’t the right word. If you skipped an oil change completely, your car would eventually crap out. Then what? I hope you like walking! Anyway, oil changes are a no-brainer investment.

They keep your engine running smoothly. If you procrastinate about getting your oil changed for too long, it could cause a malfunction under your hood. No good. Engines are not cheap to replace. It depends on your make and model, but the average cost is $4,000. Don’t risk it.

4. Find a mechanic you can trust

I understand why women don’t trust auto shops. Some mechanics view females as easy targets.

Auto Repair

Here I am, checking the oil in a car.

Please note I said, “some,” not ALL. There are many honest mechanics in the world. You can find a good one in my trusted auto shop directory at Women Auto Know. If you can’t find a local mechanic there, do an Internet search for: “your city, state, auto shops.”

I highly recommend visiting the auto shop before you commit to any repairs or auto services. You can only learn so much online. What to look for:

  • Expect transparency about pricing
  • Expect to be treated as an equal
  • Expect to receive an accurate quote before any repair work is done
  • Expect a clean and comfortable waiting area
  • Bonus points if they have toys and coloring books for kids

5. See your automobile as an extension of yourself

If your skin, bones, and ligaments are the “physical body,” your car is the “auto body.”

Your vehicle guards you from harm. Can you imagine how bad a wreck would be without the protective shell of your interior? You’d be deader than a bug on a windshield.

I hope that didn’t sound negative. But you need to understand how serious this is. Never take vehicle ownership lightly. Driving is risky; do everything in your power to protect yourself.

Perceived that way, auto repair doesn’t seem so bad. It’s not an inconvenience. It’s an investment in your health and longevity. The same reasoning applies to your kids, partner, or any passengers you love.

Share this information with your friends so they can be safe and responsible drivers like you.

By Audra Fordin, owner of Great Bear Auto Repair in Queens, New York, and founder of Women Auto Know.