As a car enthusiast with a mechanical background, I pride myself in helping people get better automatic services. My experience in the mechanical field has made me genuinely in love with cars and gain even more information about them. My main aims as a car enthusiast is to be a part of the innovative pipeline, be involved with different people, share my knowledge and also think like a business man.

The best way to avoid any auto rip offs is to always be prepared. How can you do this? By having information on how your vehicle works and identifying the common car problems from the start.

It is also as important to know how you can choose a good mechanic both online and offline. While choosing the perfect mechanic is important, you need to know the right kind of questions to ask and what your rights are.

What you should look for when choosing a repair shop

  • Make sure you trust the review source. Check recommendations online, from friends, family and people who have been to the repair shop before.
  • Shop around using your phone for better deals. Compare the warranties policies on the repairs before you settle.
  • Ask for a license, local and state laws require repair shops to be registered.

How to choose the perfect technician

Look or a shop that displays their certificate. An automotive service excellence seal is a good sign that the technician is very qualified. The certification simply means that the technician meets the competence and basic standards to fix your vehicle.

Always ask if the technician has some experience working on the same model or make of your vehicle.

Repair charges

Before you agree and arrange on work to be performed on your vehicle, ask for the shop prices. Some shops charge you a flat rate for their labour and others on the actual time for the repair. The flat rate is based on the manufacture’s estimate of time needed to do the repair.

If the repairs are complicated, talk to two different mechanics. Note that shops that offer diagnostic work but do not sell the repair part are likely not going to give you objective opinions on the repairs and necessities.

Ask for a written agreement whenever you decide to get the work done. The written estimate should include:

  • An identification of the condition of the vehicle that need t be fixed, the anticipated labour charge the parts you will need.
  • A signed copy of all documents
  • Your approval

Here is a quick guide to help you understand when your vehicle has issues

When it looks like trouble, it is- Small stains on your vehicle may not mean much; wet spots and large stains deserve your undivided attention. The fluids can be identified by their colors and consistency. When it smells like trouble, do not drive

When it sounds like trouble- Sounds that provide you with clues about issues in your vehicle and maintenance needs include:

When it feels like trouble- When you have difficulty handling your vehicle, it is never a good sign. Issues like poor performance and vibrations are always indications of the issues.

The steering – Worn out steering components and misaligned front wheels can lead to difficult steering. The vehicle sometimes may have the tendency to steer to the right or the left. It can be caused by issues such as under-inflated tires which could cause serious damage.

Ride and Handling

Improper tire inflation and worn out shock absorbers have a tendency of contributing to poor cornering. There is no specific rule about replacing struts or shock absorbers but you should always be on the lookout. Overloading the vehicle over a long period of time will cause the springs to wear out. Balancing your tires is also important. When unbalanced, your vehicles will go through extreme vibrations which in turn wears the suspension components and steering prematurely.

Brakes

A vehicle technically works like a system of connected bones. All break parts work together to perform a very important faction which is precise and safe stopping power

Pressing down on the brake pedal, activates the cylinder and delivers the fluid straight to the callipers which then activates the brake pads. The brake pads apply pressure on the rotors and this creates the friction needed to stop your vehicle.

Schedule a repair and diagnosis when;

  • The brake light on the instrument panel is lit
  • There is a sound or feel of scraping or grinding while you break
  • When you apply the break, the vehicle is pulled to one side
  • The brake pedal sinks to the floor when you maintain the pressure

The Engine

Symptoms that indicate your engine has some issues include:

  • Engine continues running after the key is removed
  • The “check engine” light on the instrument panel is lit
  • Excessive oil use
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Poor acceleration
  • Rough idling or stalling
  • Difficulty starting the engine

The Transmission

A simple disconnection on the plugged filter and hose may lead to a poor performance on the transmission. Transmission repairs will cost you the most, which is why you should always check on simple issues that cause failure on the transmission

Transmission issues you may encounter

  • There is a failure to shift during your normal acceleration
  • There is an abrupt shift between gears
  • Facing slippage when you accelerate- this means that the engine speeds up but your vehicle will not respond
  • Zero or delayed response when you shift from neutral to reverse or drive

The clutch

While the car engine is always spinning, the wheels need to be able to start and stop. The clutch disengages the wheels without having to kill the engine.

Automatic vehicles – in automatic transmissions like for the jeep wranglers, the clutch is part of a large system. The system comes together to form the torque converter.

Common clutch problems on the jeep wrangler

  • A hard clutch – if force is needed to press the clutch more than you would normally need to then that is a problem.
  • Misalignment- the wrong amount of force is transmitted when you press the pedal
  • Leaks – leaks in the cylinders will prevents them from building the right pressure to function as they should
  • Wearing – constant friction makes the disc material wear out.
  • A broken cable – If you need tension to pull and push the clutch there is definitely an issue.
  • Air in the hydraulic- air replaces the fluid and this will mess with the pressure build

Troubleshooting

We always consider getting major repairs when faced with car troubles, which is not always the issue. Techniques and issues that will help you find the problems

The alternator- loose wiring around the alternator will make it appear defective. You should look out for loose connections and perform an output test before doing a complete replacement.

The battery – corrosion and lose terminals will make your batteries appear defective and dead. Have the battery cleaned before replacing it.

The muffler – This loud rumbling noise will appear under the vehicle and indicates the need for a new exhaust pipe of muffler.

The starter – a dead battery and poor connection will make the starter appear more defections. The technician should check the connections on the vehicle and do an extensive test on the battery before the repair the kit.

OBD2 scanners, how they work and how to use it

Vehicles are computers on four wheels. All model vehicles require an OBD2 system. The OBD2 scanner is a standardized system for cars and trucks; it is used for self diagnostics. Its software regulates and monitors the main functions of your vehicle. It helps both technician and car owners understand the data gathered.

There are two main types of OBD2 scanners; the code readers and scan tools. Code readers are inexpensive but they do not gather all types of information while scan tools read manufacturer specific codes. The scan tools enable troubleshooting options.

How to use the scanner;

  1. Turn of the vehicle power and plug in the scanner into your data link connector
  2. Switch the car on and wait for the scanner to boot up
  3. Input all the required data when the canner is ready; the information includes engine, type, model, VIN and more.
  4. Allow the device to read or scan the diagnostic system
  5. The OBD2 then provides you with codes that you can transfer to your phone and laptop.
  6. The vehicle manual will help you identify the trouble codes.
  7. When you are done recording, you can switch the vehicle off and unplug the scanner.