When you need your car fixed, you usually need it done as soon as you can. That’s why it’s important for you to not only know what needs to be done, but how you will get it repaired. Whether you will do the repairs or plan to take it to a mechanic, here are some smart auto repair tips.

If your vehicle begins making a louder noise than usual, you should suspect the muffler needs replacing. This is a job best done at a shop because it is difficult to work under a car without a lift. You can get a warning or even a ticket if your muffler sounds too loud.

Protect your car from water damage. Take the time to make sure all windows and doors are properly closed. Keep your car on higher ground if you live in an area that’s easily flooded. If you have sandbags, build a wall around your car. Don’t drive in areas with high water levels. Don’t start your car if it’s been exposed to flood waters.

Independent garages and mechanics are usually much cheaper than dealerships. You might get a discount at your dealership if you purchased your car recently but do not make a habit of going to your dealership if you find their prices too expensive. Find out about local independent garages with a good reputation instead.

If your car door and hatch locks tend to become stiff, avoid breaking your key off in the lock by lubricating them periodically with a penetrating oil spray. You can use the plastic extender that comes with the spray can to deliver oil to the interior of the locking mechanism. If you have misplaced this extender, just spray your key liberally and turn it in the stiff lock several times.

Assemble a DIY auto repair tool kit to keep in the trunk of your car. Your tool kit should have equipment to change a tire and other necessary items. If the necessary lug wrench and jack are missing, replace them. You may ask want to get a variety of screwdrivers, ratchets, socket wrenches and the like. Do not waste money by getting cheap tools. Get good, sturdy tools that won’t break when you need them the most.

Garage

Take action if you believe a garage or dealership ripped you off. Notify one of the manager and give them a chance to issue a refund. If you are still not satisfied, contact your local Better Business Bureau to file a complaint. Your city or state consumer affair office is also a good resource.

You need to keep track of all the repairs and transactions with your garage or dealership. If you decide to file a complaint, you will need to document what happened. Keeping these documents will also help you inform buyers about the repairs you did on the vehicle if you want to sell your car.

If you need to get your vehicle fixed, choose a garage or a dealership that hires certified technicians. The person who runs the place might have a certification but this does not mean that certified people will work on your car. Choosing certified technicians is a good way of making sure qualified people are fixing your car.

If you have to drop your car off at a garage or dealership, instruct the mechanics that you wish to be called with an estimate before they do any work on your car. Do not let a mechanic convince you to pay for expensive repairs because the vehicle is already partly dismantled.

When looking for a repair shop or a garage, pay attention to the documents on the walls. Certified mechanics usually have the original copy of their certification framed on the wall. You should look for certifications issued by your state or by the ASE as well as proofs of insurance.

If you start to experience trouble on the road when you are far from home, always check for recommendations and reviews of mechanics in the vicinity before just turning over your keys to the first garage you come upon. Remember that these people will know you are in a precarious position and may try to take advantage of you.

With these tips, you should feel more comfortable about fixing your car. You should know have some ideas that can help you to get your automobile repaired quickly, so that you can go on with your life. Don’t wait until you have a problem with your car; keep this information on hand so you have somewhere to start.