When a car is brought in for service, there are certain things the customer can do to ensure that the repair is performed to their satisfaction, whether they are paying for the repair or the repair is under warranty.
Proper Description of the Problem
Dealership personnel often refer to the process of diagnosing problems with cars and making the fix as "complaint, cause, and repair." Complaint is the initial problem, for example, the customer is feeling a pulsation in the brake pedal while stopping. The cause would be what's causing that sensation--in this case, a warped brake rotor. The repair in this case would be to resurface the rotor.
Cause, complaint, and repair needs to be documented on warranty claims, in order for the manufacturer to approve the claim. If it's not properly documented by the service advisor, the claim may be denied, as the manufacturer may be suspicious of a fraudulent warranty claim.
Customers can make it easier for technicians and service advisers to diagnose problems with their cars in several ways. One way is to take a test drive with either the technician or service advisor riding along or driving. Being as specific as possible about the problem is also a must. Taking notes on when or how a problem occurs can be very helpful. Bad reviews of the car model can also guide you into identifying the problem – like this Marietta sports car review.
Diagnosis and Diagnostic Fees
Many customers are surprised to find themselves being asked to pay a "diagnostic fee" for repairs that seemingly would be covered under warranty. The reason that dealerships and independent shops sometimes charge this fee is in order to cover the technician's diagnostic time in case the repair is found to be something that cannot be covered under warranty. There can be car associations that can help you like this Volkswagen group.
In most cases, the fee will not be charged if the repair is warrantable. In order to build goodwill, most shops probably wouldn't charge the customer, even if it turned out that the repair was unwarrantable. Sometimes, the diagnostic fee is used simply to discourage customers from wasting the shop's time.
Unwarrantable Conditions in Factory Warranties
Even though a car may under the factory warranty, some conditions won't be covered. For example, thanks to on-board diagnostics, a car's check engine light can come on whenever the computer diagnoses a fault code with the engine or emissions system.
A fault code can be caused by not tightening the gas cap enough after refueling. Correctly tightening -- and occasionally replacing -- the gas cap will solve this problem, but most manufacturers won't pay for this. Usually, dealers will eat the cost, to build goodwill with their customers, but this is generally not a warrantable repair.
Other problems that aren't warrantable include damage inflicted by the customer and normal wear and tear items. It's important to read any fine print included with a warranty before taking a car in for service.
The Final Test Drive - Post Repair Maintenance Check
One way to make sure the car is repaired correctly is to test drive the car with the technician or service advisory. Looking closely at the repair order while picking the car up can also help make sure the problem is solved. If the car is beyond repair, then an auto salvage solution should be underway.
In the end, communication is the key to getting good car repair. Knowing what to expect--and how to talk to the service personnel--can save time and money in the end.
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