Auto Repair Tips
IF YOUR CAR BREAKS DOWN
- Get the car as far off the road as possible
- Set out flares or reflective triangles to indicate you have stopped.
- Stay with your car until help arrives. If you feel in any danger, stay inside the car with the doors locked until the police arrive.
- If your car must be towed check the owner's manual for instructions.
Some cars must be towed backwards; others require a flatbed tow.
- Local police usually have a list available towing services
if you get stranded. Inquire about costs before you allow your
car to be hooked up to the truck.
- Make every effort to remove your car from the service station
to which you are towed unless you plan to have your car repaired
there. You may be charged daily storage fees.
- Remove all valuables from the car if it has to be left anywhere.
DESCRIBING THE PROBLEM
Describe the car's symptoms to the mechanic. Unless you are certain what the problem is, don't diagnose it yourself. You may end up paying for more work than is necessary.
GETTING AN ESTIMATE
New Jersey Auto repair regulations require that auto dealers and mechanics give you a written estimate before repairing your car. In addition, the shop cannot begin repairs without receiving your authorization first.
The mechanic has the right to charge a fee for diagnosing the car's problem. Ask about the fee if there is a chance you will not be having the car repaired.
- If you can't wait for an estimate, you can ask the repair
shop to prepare the estimate and call you for oral approval.
At that time the repair shop must note the details of the phone
conversation including the time of the call, and the number where
you were reached.
- You are entitled to the return of any replaced parts provided
you reques them before the work is begun.
- Ask if the parts to be replaced will be new, used, or rebuilt.
Any new part should come with a warranty.
- Ask how long the work will take.
THE WORK ORDER
- Check the invoice carefully making sure you understand everything
that was done and what you are paying for.
- You are entitled to a legible copy of the work order. The
charges for parts and labor must be itemized separately indicating
the use of any new, rebuilt, reconditioned or used parts.
BEFORE YOU PAY THE BILL
Test drive the car to determine whether the problem is solved.
Keep a copy of all work orders and receipts.
Bring any complaints to the attention of the service manager
of the repair shop. If you do not receive satisfaction call the
Burlington County Office of Consumer Affairs at (609) 265-5054.
IF YOU WANT A COPY OF THE REGULATION
Call the above listed number, or send a postcard request to
Office of Consumer Affairs, Department of Weights and Measures,
49 Rancocas Road, PO Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060.