Auto repair is one of the most basic things you should know if you have a car in California. Imagine you get a flat tire and there’s no shop nearby who can help change it for you. You need to at least have the tools and the basic know-how to replace the flat one with the spare.
As a general rule by responsible motorists and from auto repair expert Angel’s Transmission & Auto Repair, walk around your vehicle and check your car every day before you drive it. Heighten your senses of smell, sight, touch or feel, and hearing when using your car to find any possible issue.
Most car owners know their vehicles (almost) by heart – like their own baby, in fact. (Good thing that your car comes with a manual so you can read more information and get to know your vehicle better.) So really, the best person who could sense that something is amiss is the owner itself. But sometimes, something so basic is even ignored. So let’s attempt to look at the most common signs that your car may be in trouble and a visit at the auto repair shop is in the horizon.
How does it look?
The most obvious indicator is how your car looks. Is there a dent or perhaps a scratch somewhere? Is there something not aligned or some parts missing?
Some other visible signs that you should be wary of are different kinds of leaks. A clear fluid leak is normally associated with condensation. However, there are certain colors of leaks that could indicate a potential problem:
- Oily blackish or brownish fluid could mean leaking engine oil from a broken gasket
- Red oily leak could mean from transmission or power-steering fluid
- Yellow green, bluish or orange leak could mean overheating engine, antifreeze leak coming from a bad hose, water pump or damaged radiator
Can you hear it?
Is there a cranking noise when you drive? Sometimes, a normally quiet ride would be tainted with unwanted noise – rattle, screech, squeal, click, rumble, clunk, and banging knock, among others. These noises could mean problems with steering, fan or air conditioning belt, brake wear, defective exhaust pipe or muffler, worn crankshaft, loose shock absorber, etc.
What’s that smell?
Does it smell like something is burning? Is it quite pungent? No matter how offensive it is on your olfactory sense, odor spells trouble with the car. The offensive smell could be caused by short in electrical wiring or insulation, overheated engine or transmission, overflowing gas, or even overheated brakes or clutch. When you smell something off, check the source immediately.
How does it feel?
When an expected smooth ride turned into a rough drive, poor handling, unresponsive transmission or poor performance, chances are your car is not on top form. The obvious culprits would be engine trouble, transmission, misaligned wheels, and even brakes.
Once any of the above troubles are present, seek a reliable auto repair shop immediately. Sometimes, what you consider to be a minor trouble could actually be major and that would cost you money or worse, lives.
Finding A Reliable Auto Repair Shop
There may be simple things you can do at home via video tutorials for D.I.Y. solutions for your car woes. For sure, you can do simple tasks such as changing oil, adding water, changing battery, or replacing wipers. However, there are instances when you really have to go and seek expert advise for your car troubles. It is best not to self-diagnose and troubleshoot your vehicle when you really are clueless with the issue. It’s just like with our own health, we should not self-medicate and must see a doctor if symptoms persist.
The Federal Trade Commission offered some tips on what to look out for when considering an auto repair shop:
- Word-of-mouth is your best bet. Ask for recommendations from your friends or loved ones on who they trust. Again, this is similar to looking for a trusted medical practitioner who you want to help you get well
- Check online and read reviews about the auto repair shops. Review the shop’s history, if possible, within the published information about them
- If you have shortlisted some shops, check with local government agencies if they are licensed or certified, or if there are any complaints about them
- Consider shops that have certified technicians for service excellence and competencies
- Choose auto repair shops that will honor your vehicle’s warranty
In addition, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair provides a few more reminders when it comes to choosing an auto repair shop:
- Check with the shop if they regularly service or familiar to do work on models as your vehicle. This is especially needed if you need major repairs for your car
- Ask for written guarantee on the work or service that they do
- Ask for a written estimate (also find out first if they charge a fee for estimates) that details the exact work to be carried out when approved. You can then compare with other estimates from your shortlisted auto repair shops. Do not sign blank estimate work orders for your safety
- Auto repair shops are not required by law to provide guarantees but if they do, get a copy of the guarantee
- Don’t forget your invoice that should include the name of the shop, its address, its automotive repair dealer registration number, all the work carried out including under warranty at no charge, itemized list of all parts that were replaced with an indication of which were used, reconditioned or rebuilt, and labor cost
For a thorough qualifications and responsibilities of auto repair shops, visit the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.
With over two decades of expertise and discipline in auto repair, Angel’s Transmission & Auto Repair has met customers’ expectations. Located in Mission Viejo, Angel’s Transmission has a team of dedicated, certified and experienced auto technicians who can handle works on automatic/manual transmission repair or rebuilding, coolant flush, brakes and other auto repair services from simple to complex cases. We serve the Orange County communities of Coto de Caza, Dana Point, Foothill Ranch, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Rancho Santo Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, and Trabuco Canyon. To have your transmission checked, call Angel’s Transmission & Auto Repair at (949) 587-9060 for more info.