At our shop it’s not uncommon for us to see cars that need a lot of work before they’re running optimally. There are many different reasons why car owners find themselves with a car that needs some serious attention.
Common reasons for finding yourself with an out of shape car include:
- Financial Strain – when your financial situation changes maintenance and repairs can take the back burner to paying for insurance, gas, or other necessary expenses like rent/mortgage and food.
- Inherited Problems – sometimes people are given a hand me down car which is a wonderful gift but it could end up costing more in the long run. Sometimes these cars aren’t maintained due to lack of driving or a owner who neglected the maintenance for their own reasons.
- Skipping the Pre-Purchase Inspection – Having a vehicle checked out in advance may seem like a frivolous expense and complicated, especially if the vehicle seems to run well. More often than not we see cars after they were purchased and after inspection we find major items like service and repairs that can easily add thousands to the purchase price.
- Not Being in the Know – Sometimes cars are neglected simply because people don’t know what they’re missing. Different cars require different types of maintenance service. If you work with a mechanic that doesn’t advise you of these items or your car comes without a manual (or you didn’t read it) you may be missing out on important items. Some services are pricey but it’s almost always more expensive to fix something after it’s broken rather than replace it proactively. If you have to add in a towing charge that expense goes up even more.
So what do you do if your car is out of shape? We can get it back up to speed in five steps.
- Consult a Professional. Take your car to a technician that specializes in your make and model. You’ll make sure you’re getting a personalized diagnosis and prescription. You should expect to pay for this check out. The price will vary by the location and the vehicle specialty however it is worth it. Make sure you ask the tech to prioritize the necessary work for you and also let you know when you may receive discounts for overlapping labor. A prime example of this is on vehicles where you replace the timing belt and water pump at the same time. Doing them separately could mean paying for the cost of labor twice.
- Make a Plan. Now you know what needs to be done so the question is, can you afford it all right now? If not look through the list your mechanic prioritized for you and make a plan that you can stick with.
- Take Care of the Mechanical Work. It’s tempting to do the body work first (if needed) because we are visual creatures and a nice looking car is nice to have. Mechanical work will give your car longevity and make sure you don’t end up stranded.
- Take Care of the Body Work. If your car don’t need body repairs then treat yourself to a detail.
- Enjoy Your “New” Car. Now that your vehicle is road ready and looking fine take some time to enjoy. Don’t forget to make a plan for your next oil service and also note when you will be due for a next service or preventative maintenance.