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As great as it is to have someone to talk with, your car should be relatively quiet when it runs, but if it's not, you will want to take it to the nearest car repair service shop for some diagnostic work. But before you head out, there are some things you should know about car service repair so you're not surprised by the results.
  1. All car service repair shops are not created equal. Today's cars are run by high-tech computers that require quite a bit of training and finesse to understand. Check with AAA (www.aaa.com) to find out what approved auto repair shops are in your area. You don't have to be a member to access the free list of shops that have undergone an inspection by AAA and deemed to provide high quality service at reasonable prices. You can also ask friends, relatives and others for what shops they use and recommend.
  2. Beware car kiosks that "read" the car's computer and give you a "code" to take to an automotive parts store. The premise is that the "code" will diagnose what is wrong with the car and allow you to go to a retail automotive supply store, give them the code and purchase the correct part. Car problems are rarely that easy to diagnose. There are myriad stories of drivers who've relied on the kiosks and still had problems with their cars.
  3. Expect car technicians to use a machine that will give them codes to help diagnose your car's service problem. However, the difference between a technician using one of these machines versus a driver using a self-service kiosk is great. The technician will use the code to begin to diagnose the car's problem-much as a physician would use blood tests or x-rays to begin diagnosis-but they do not consider the codes the ultimate diagnosis.
  4. Don't be surprised if the technician points out that your car has a recall notice for a part. When cars are brought into shops for service, computer alerts for recalls are a routine part of the service.
  5. Stick to a routine maintenance schedule. Keeping tires inflated, moving components properly lubricated and ignition and emission systems operating properly will extend the life of your vehicle and lessen the need for car repair.
  6. Batteries are adversely affected by heat as cold. If your battery dies, think twice before you "do it yourself." It's easy to buy the incorrect battery for your car, which wastes money and could damage your car. Rely on a car repair service for this replacement.
  7. Ask the technician at the car repair service shop to check the hoses of your car. Extreme heat can cause hoses to dry out over time and leak, leaving you stranded. Technicians will gladly check your hoses for deterioration.
  8. Technicians will give you a list of repairs that need to be done immediately and a list of those that can wait a few months. If they don't offer that list, ask.
  9. Remember that antifreeze/coolant levels are very important, especially in extreme hot or cold weather. The technician will check to ensure that the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is in your system.
  10. Talk to the technician at your car repair service shop about the driving conditions you expect to encounter. If you are driving in very hot temperatures or towing a heavy trailer, you may want to take preventative measures such as switching to motor oil with higher viscosity.
Getting your car repaired doesn't have to be scary. With these tips you'll able to better understand the diagnosis and repair process and not be surprised along the way.

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