Taking a car into the shop can be confusing: there are all sorts of things that mechanics might want to fix on the vehicle, like emergency repairs, routine maintenance and other less essential fixes. So how do you decide what to get done? Here are a number of things that may influence your decision.
State Inspection Processes and Requirements
The state inspection requirements in your state of residence may have quite an impact on what you choose to get done on your vehicle when you bring it into the shop. A state safety inspection governs all sorts of issues that don't really involve whether the vehicle is running or not. Tires and windshield wipers need to be in good condition. Ditto for brakes. Other items like motor mounts may not even be evident to the driver, but the mechanic will catch them, and they'll need to be fixed in order to get an inspection sticker. Why does this factor into your repair decisions? Because it essentially forces drivers to invest in certain things they would not invest in on their own. For example, if you have an essential inspection item (rust on panel) but you would prefer to fix a body dent first, you will have to address the rust first, to pass inspection.
If certain parts of the vehicle are under manufacturer's warranty, you don't want to be subjected to "double jeopardy" where you're going to pay to have the work done. Look carefully at the warranty to see whether you need to pay a mechanic, or whether you can get money from the dealer or whoever sold you the vehicle. That's how a warranty can factor into your "dinner table economics" when it's times to fix a car.
State emissions laws are also important. For example, your catalytic converter might flag the check engine light without interrupting the fuel mix or changing the way the vehicle burns gas. But choosing to drill holes in the catalytic converter or otherwise renovate it instead of replacing it at an auto shop is illegal. Drivers have to think about the importance of doing the right thing and avoiding liability, even if it means paying some cash up front.
Customers should also look at the shop's labor rate per hour and parts charges to figure out how much they'll have to pay for work that is done on the vehicle. If you're not shelling out a lot for an hour of labor, you may choose to fix some troublesome but not terribly time-sensitive things like extra lights, cables, latches or other features according to your budget.
Comfort and Convenience
In some cases, for example, when it's your primary vehicle, you want things fixed right away. Air-conditioning is a good example. If you can make do by waiting until the cooler months to do a lot of driving in the car, you can put off costly air-conditioning effects. Otherwise, you want to get this done right away.
These are the some of the items that really affect the decision-making process when you're faced with a complicated cost estimate breakdown at your mechanic shop. Make sure to talk with a professional mechanic, like those at Jensen Tire & Auto, when making these decisions.