We like to have a view of life that everything’s hunky-dory and nothing can go wrong, which remains in order only until the time we get betrayed at the hands of someone in whom we trusted blindly. With exactly this kind of attitude we hand over our cars for service. Next time you take your car for service, here is the list of things that you should check to avoid getting duped.
It’s a standard practice to prepare a job sheet if you have taken your car to a fully mechanised repair shop, regardless of the station to which you give your car for service. The sheet acts as a means of communication between the mechanic and your service advisor. While giving your car for service you may point out certain faults that need to be taken care of, make sure that you check the car and sheet while picking up your car just to ensure that everything has been attended to and the said corrections has been done.
In the case of a roadside mechanic, you have to ask questions on each of the issues you itemised when you brought in your car. If there are issues that requires part changes, you need to request to see the parts removed from the car. You also need test the parts that has been replaced.
2. Itemised Bill
An itemized bill is always prepared after you get the car serviced. Make sure to check that it carries the price of the item as was approximately quoted to you by the service advisor or mechanic. Keep an eye open and see in case of engine oil top-up, you are not being charged for replacement. Human or machine error does happen. It’s better to be vigilant. Roadside mechanics can give you a receipt for the service even though a lot of people do not know and do not ask. Ask for this so you can have full details of what has been done on the car. Check the details versus price quoted and ensure the prices match your initial discussions with the mechanic.
The engine is the heart of your car and for it to function properly, it needs engine oil change as well as filter change. The same goes for transmission too, though it generally does not have a filter. Depending on when you are getting the engine oil changed, observe the colour before and after. New oil would be lighter in colour and clean.
4. Coolant/Brake Fluid
It’s important that the engine coolant is changed after a few thousand kilometres since it loses its properties after sometime. And depending on the car manufacturer’s recommendation, you may need to replace/refill the brake fluid too. While there’s no way you can ascertain if this has been done or not unless you see it while it’s being done. It’s better to stay in the observation bay or take it to a service station where you can actually see it happening.
Just to be on the safer side it’s advised that you take out the tool kit and other personal belongings out of the car before giving it for service. If it’s not possible, you can ask the service advisor or your mechanic to mention this on the Job sheet to ensure that it does not get misplaced while it’s being worked upon. Also, upon taking the delivery ensure that spare wheel and other accessories are intact.
6. Fuel Level
Service advisors mark the fuel level on the job sheet to ensure that it’s not being misused. It’s common practise to check air conditioning working during dry seasons. To ensure that it’s not being misused by mechanics for relaxing, check the fuel level upon delivery.
7. Odometer Reading
It’s common practise to take for a short test drive of about 2-3 kms after service just to ensure that the car is driving properly, is dynamically fine and there aren’t issues as such. A long test drive may be needed in case the engine overhauling has been done or head gasket etc. has been replaced etc. The reading would reveal if the car was misused behind your back.
8. Tyre condition / Wheel Rotation & Balancing
Have a good look at the tyres / wheels while taking the delivery of your car. The chances of wheels swapping are likely to happen if your car is due to get the wheel rotation or alignment. Although chances of this happening are next to none. But you would not want to get old tyres if your car in new.
9. Air Filter
A check for air filter can be easily done by opening the air filter housing and taking it out. The air filter is meant to be replaced after few thousand kms and should be cleaned ever time your car goes for service. It contributes to the engine health in great deal. Also, checking this relatively easy too.
10. Take a road test with the service advisor
This is last but certainly not the least. While you may be in a hurry to leave with the car after it is serviced. It’s better to take a test drive with the service advisor and see the issue that you pointed out have actually been sorted out or not, however smaller they may be. Most often it’s the smaller issues that further aggravate and make the problems worse than they actually were in the first place.