How to Get Good Car Repair Advice
When you need car repair advice, where do you go? The internet? Ask friends or family? The public library? An auto parts store? A dealership service adviser? Your local repair shop? Where you search for car repair advice and whom you ask may or may not get you the information you are looking for.
If you are having a car problem, you probably want to know what is causing the problem, what it will take to fix the problem and how much the repairs will cost. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you need to know what parts to replace and how to replace them. If you are taking your car to a shop or a dealership for repairs, you want to know ahead of time what you're getting into and approximately how much it will cost to fix your car. Knowledge is power, and it can reduce the chance of being ripped off on a repair bill.
Automotive diagnostic and repair help websites such as AA1Car.com are an excellent resource for general advice and background information on a wide range of automotive topics. Our articles are thoroughly researched, technically accurate and unbiased as we are not in the auto repair business and do not sell auto parts or other automotive products. For a list of automotive articles on this website, see the links below:Alphabetical Index of All Auto Diagnosis & Repair Topics on AA1Car
Other online resources we would recommend include:Auto Repair Facts for Consumers Provided By the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
For vehicle specific diagnostic and repair procedures, we would recommend one of two sources:
Vehicle Manufacturer Service Information Websites (Most require a subscription fee)
Paying a small subscription fee to access all of the factory service manual information, diagnostic charts and detailed step-by-step repair procedures for your vehicle is not expensive (less than $30 in most cases), and is absolutely necessary for diagnosing and repairing most late model vehicles.
Another source of information many people use on the internet are automotive forums. There are hundreds of forums dedicated to specific vehicle makes and models as well as more general automotive forums. Forums contain a wealth of information, but also a lot of misinformation and conflicting information.
The typical forum user will post a question in hopes that other forum users will respond and offer an answer or advice on how to solve the problem. But with all forums, there is no guarantee that anyone will respond or that any responses they do receive will be accurate or helpful. It all depends on the other forum members and who posts a response. Many forum users are quite knowledgeable and can provide exactly the kind of answer you are looking for. Other forum users want to be helpful and may venture a guess or offer an opinion that may or may not be accurate or may be totally wrong. In other words, it may be hard to distinguish good advice from bad advice.
Most forums are moderated to delete spam, rants and off-topic posts and comments that don't belong on the forum. But in most instances, the accuracy of the posts and responses is left up to the forum users. There's no editing or vetting or review of the comments that are posted. Consequently, if inaccurate or incorrect responses are posted to a question, other more knowledgeable users may or may not challenge a post or offer additional information.
We've seen many forum responses degenerate into endless bickering between conflicting points of view. We've also seen a lot of posts that totally contradict one another. There's nothing wrong with a good debate provided the people involved know what they are talking about. But unless there is some resolution to the debate, or some serious fact checking involved, the person who posted the original question may be left confused and no closer to finding an answer than when they started.
A better approach, in our opinion, is to seek the advice of a professional technician who knows what they are talking about. There are various websites on the internet that offer such services for a small fee. One is JustAnswer.com (see banner ad below). They have dozens of experienced automotive technicians online at any given time who can accurately answer almost any car repair question. To be accepted as an online automotive expert, they must submit their educational, employment and professional credentials (which are validated by a 3rd party) as well as pass a series of tests that checks their ability to answer car repair advice questions accurately.
Other Sources for Car Repair Advice:
Many public libraries still have automotive service manuals in their automotive section, but many of the manuals are out-of-date. Most of the auto makers stopped producing printed service manuals a decade ago and switched to digital storage. Some information is available on DVDs but most can only be access online by going to their service information websites.
For automotive service manuals and books, see the link below:Repair Manuals, Shop Manuals & Auto Repair Books
Friends and family can sometimes provide car repair advice if they are technically knowledgeable or have experienced a similar problem. A friend or family member may also be able to recommend a good local repair shop or dealership where you can take your car for repairs (or warn you where NOT to take your car for repairs!).
If you take your car to a repair shop or dealership, they may be able to give you a general idea of what might be causing your problem and an estimate of how much it might cost to fix it. But until a technician actually gets into the diagnosis, it may be impossible to tell for sure exactly what is wrong with your car and what parts they may have to replace. So the service adviser or manager may offer a best-case and worst-case scenario of what to expect.
Related articles you can read for more Car Repair Advice: