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Tag: austin auto repair

There are several ways you can use the internet to determine whether the shop you’ve chosen, or the one that’s been recommended to you, is a good choice.  Making the right decision will ensure that you’re back on the road in your newly repaired vehicle quickly and with very little headache.  The ultimate choice about which body repair shop will work on your vehicle is up to you, so doing your research before you choose is a good idea.

If you own or drive a vehicle, chances are one day you’ll find yourself shopping around in Austin for an auto body repair shop.  Trusting someone you don’t know to repair one of your most prized possessions after a car accident can be a daunting task.

By doing your research before going with the first shop you find or hear about, you’ll make the entire process go smoother and save yourself a lot of headache in the long run.

There are several ways you can research an auto body shop to be sure they have a good reputation.  Armed with the internet you’re ready to do a little digging!

1)      Check with the BBB

Your first stop should be the Better Business Bureau website.  BBB was established to provide consumers a way to locate businesses that have proven themselves as trustworthy providers in their area.  Most reputable businesses are registered with the BBB, and you can look up any business and see their rating for free.

2)      Read Online Reviews

From there, check out online review websites.  There are many to choose from.  Yelp is a popular place for people to leave reviews.  You can also learn more about the body shop you’re considering by searching their name with ‘Google Plus Reviews’ as part of your search.  Google now promotes business ‘plus’ pages directly in search results, and they’re a great way for customers to read reviews about local businesses.  Angie’s List is another reputable review site.  It requires a paid membership to participate but provides more information and has a reliable network of qualified reviewers that many find worth the minimal subscription fee.  Finally, don’t forget to check out the shop’s Facebook page.  Recent changes mean that Facebook users can now leave a review with a rating of 1-5 stars, which shows up directly on the business’s Facebook page.

3)      Ask Your Friends

Check with your friends, family and co-workers.  Odds are most of them have had an experience with a body repair shop at some point and most people are happy to share their experience with you.  Ask them about how comfortable they felt with the people working at the shop.  Was the shop honest and trustworthy?  Were the repairs completed properly and on time?

Once your car has been repaired after a car wreck, leave a review online and tell your friends about your experience.  Pay it forward and help others benefit from your experience!

Austin Car Repair Car Parts
Image by Emyr Jones

The kind of parts put on your car during a car repair matters.  We use our cars so much that it’s easy to forget they function and operate due to a complex and well-timed interaction between very different elements.  Sooner or later, every car will have to undergo repairs, and that means a replacement part will be used.  When you find yourself faced with vehicle repair in Austin, it’s important to understand the basic differences between OEM and Like Kind and Quality After Market Parts.

What are OEM Car Parts?

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) refers to parts that are made by the original manufacturer.  OEM parts should work just like the part being replaced during the car repair.  There should be no unexpected issues with fit or function.  In short, when you see OEM, the original manufacturer is providing a replacement part that should work perfectly.

There is an additional wrinkle in the OEM part equation and that has to do with the complexity of the modern manufacturing process.  Frequently, many different companies and manufacturers may be involved in the production of a single car.  A car company can thus sell an OEM replacement part or spare parts without actually having manufactured it directly themselves.  In spite of that, an OEM part should still fit and function just as the original part it’s replacing.

Like Kind and Quality-After Market Parts

After market parts are designed to have the same function as the original part they replace, but there can be slight variations in fit.  The manufacturer attempts to stamp out the part as closely as it can to the original but there can be minor differences.  Depending on the part, a minor difference could be a major problem.

Like Kind and Quality-Used Parts

By opting for used parts, a consumer knows that there will likely be no issue with fit or function. The used part should work just like the original.  There are some unexpected benefits in opting for a used part.  One benefit is that a used car parts can be very helpful to the environment.  A great deal of energy goes into extracting the materials needed to build a car part.  Additionally, even more energy is used in stamping out and creating a new part and then shipping it, often across the world, to its final destination.  A used car part can provide the same fit and function.  But, at the same time, it allows for a lower carbon footprint.

Why Do I Need to Know About Car Repair Parts?

Every car owner needs to know what kind of replacement items are being put on his or her car.  First of all, the parts that are placed on your car can impact your warranty.  Also, by understanding what parts are in your car, you’ll have a deeper understanding of your car’s performance both in the short term and the long term.

Owning a car means that at some point it’s likely you’ll need a trusted auto body shop in Austin to come to the rescue and repair damage to your vehicle.  Many people wait until they’ve been in a car wreck to start looking for a collision repair center, but the best time to establish a new relationship is before you need it!

Any time your car needs repairs, whether they’re mechanical or involve body damage, it’s a stressful time.  Dealing with insurance, car rental and the hassles of being without your usual vehicle can be a big inconvenience.  Planning ahead and having a personal connection with a collision center in Austin will save you the headache of starting your search while you’re already stressed out.

Still not sure? Here are five compelling reasons to spend a little time doing your homework beforehand:

1)      When you have a wreck, one phone call gets you a fast and free tow.

2)      Once your car is in the shop, they’ll help you find a rental car and be on your way as quickly as possible.

3)      An established relationship with a trusted collision center means you don’t have to waste time asking all your friends and reading online reviews.  You’ll be back on the road sooner if you already know who to turn to!

4)      As a valued customer, you know you’ll receive the best possible service.  No waiting around wondering if there will be delays.

5)      Working with a local business provides peace of mind that you’re supporting your local economy.

Spend a few minutes today to look up online reviews and check out what’s available.  Google+ is a great way to find out which body shop is closest to home.  You can also find valuable information on auto body shop reviews on Yelp and Angie’s List. Make a quick note in your phone contacts or on your tablet device and you’ll be ready to get help when you need it.  Your Austin body shop should be a trusted ally, not a headache waiting to happen.  Arm yourself with some research and information beforehand and you’ll have an established friend ready to help when you need them.

Car Repair on Older Car
Image courtesy Capt Gorgeous

You may have heard people say things like ‘If your car’s engine goes, then just buy a new car.”  This isn’t true for every situation and every car.  If you are driving an old car that is on its last leg, then putting a good deal of money into auto repair is probably not your best bet.  Instead, you should allocate those funds towards a new car.

The bottom line is that the issue of repairing an aging engine is tricky.  This is especially true when you are dealing with one that needs lots of work and is expensive to fix.  So let’s take a closer look at what you should do with that aging engine.

Step 1) Get a Second Opinion

If a mechanic or anyone else tells you that your car’s engine is in need of repair, you should get a second opinion.  Most of the time, the first opinion will pan out.  But considering the costs involved in replacing an engine or auto repair in general, it makes sense to get a second opinion!  Investing the time to get a second opinion  on from a quality auto repair shop could save you thousands of dollars, a lot of money and a good deal of stress.

Step 2) Be Realistic and Run the Numbers

An older car means higher repair bills and more of them.  Cars are not built to last forever.  Your old car may have outlived its usefulness and its economic viability.

However, while replacing an engine may cost thousands of dollars, it can still be cheaper than buying a new car.  This depends on the miles you have on your car, the make and model of the car and how rough or gentle you’ve been on the vehicle.  You will want to weigh your own financial situation, the Blue Book value of the car and the condition of the car as a whole when making the tricky “new engine decision.”

At the end of the day, you will want to “run the numbers” when making this decision.  Now is not the time to be emotionally attached to your car.  If it is time for your car to move on to a new owner or its final resting place, then let your faithful friend go and save the money!

Step 3) Think About the Insurance Ramifications of the Decision

From a financial perspective, you should also keep in mind that your insurance costs will go up if you upgrade to a nicer car.  Taking the time to talk to your insurance agent may help give you a firmer idea of what choice makes more sense for you: getting a new engine or getting a new car.

Step 4) Learn About Engines

If you decide to embrace the auto repair option, you should learn about engines and why they stop working.  Knowing the basics ahead of time, before you even talk to your mechanic, is a good idea.  Research ahead of time will help you feel more comfortable with the decision of auto repair versus new car. You can find lots of information online about common engine problems.

By following these four steps, you can take a lot of the guesswork and worry out of the decision making process.  Engine troubles are expensive headaches to have, but by focusing on the economics of the situation it will be easier to know which path is the right one for you.

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