Neglected Car Service Costing Motorists

In difficult economic times, it’s natural to cut back on spending. But according to the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), putting off automotive maintenance and service can cost you more in the long run.

Neglecting vehicle maintenance can cause small problems to grow into more expensive repairs. For example, failing to replace worn brake pads or a faulty oxygen sensor – both relatively easy services for qualified auto technicians – can result in an expensive brake rotor service or the costly replacement of the vehicle’s catalytic converter. In addition, a well-maintained vehicle gets better gasoline mileage, pollutes less, is safer to operate and commands a better resale value.

A survey of ASE-certified master automotive technicians indicated that a well-maintained vehicle can last twice as long as a neglected vehicle. Yet, many drivers ignore or skip basic maintenance like oil changes, tire and brake services, wheel alignments, air and fuel filter replacements and transmission services.

Maintaining a vehicle begins with finding a quality auto repair shop. To help consumers choose a repair shop that fits their needs, ASE offers the following checklist:

•    Look for a neat, well-organized facility with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own, and modern equipment in the service bays.

•    Look for a courteous staff. The service consultant should be willing to answer all of your questions.

•    Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.

•    Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.

•    Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community or customer service awards.

•    Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification by ASE. ASE-certified technicians wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification.

•    Look for the ASE sign or logo; it means the shop employs nationally certified technicians.

Visit for car care advice and more. Or visit ASE at Facebook or Twitter.

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