To Fix or Not To Fix?Posted on: 04, October, 2017
We think we offer the highest quality auto service possible, but is that our greatest value to you? In our opinion, our most valuable feature is the way we inspect, and then prioritize our recommendations, making sure your vehicle gets the services it needs most, on a schedule that makes sense, and with the least impact on your budget. When a vehicle comes into Auto Plus behind a tow truck, the priority is pretty obvious… fix it and get it back on the road safely, quickly, and confidently. But even in this straightforward situation, there’s a decision to be made. Our Service Advisors can help with the most basic of prioritization decisions.
They can’t ALL be the most important, right? Aside from the basic fix-or-don’t-fix question, there may be a question of competing priorities. At any given time, vehicles may have ongoing issues of varying severity, importance, and expense. When we do our Inspection (designed to get a detailed picture of the overall condition of a vehicle) we determine the needs to keep a vehicle safe, breakdown free and operating properly. These vary from wear items like brake pads or tires, to fluid leaks, to serious problems like failing major mechanical systems. There may be a long list, but we almost never recommend addressing all these issues at once! Instead, we prioritize the list of recommendations that you can address over time, and as your budget allows. We rank them in three groups.
Safety – Compromised braking systems, worn or damaged tires, and many other things could make your vehicle a danger to its occupants and others. If we find valid safety issues with your vehicle, we’ll bring them to your attention and recommend fixing them before doing anything else. Priority one is safety! Breakdown prevention- Beyond safety, a vehicle should perform reliably and well. It shouldn’t leave you stranded when you least expect it. When we find a system is starting to fail we’ll usually recommend fixing it before it actually gives out, but when balancing priorities not related to safety we’ll try to provide some indication if a repair can wait or not.
Maintenance - Proper maintenance of your vehicle can reduce the need for repair. Keeping filters, fluids, belts and hoses replaced on schedule, tires rotated and brakes and other systems inspected can all extend the life of the vehicle and save costs down the road. These preventative services are vital, but we may need to prioritize them in accordance with Safety or Breakdown issues.
Our advice is shaped by your goals
Our recommendations will vary depending on your plans. Is it a vehicle you plan to own long-term or sell next year? YOUR budget plays a HUGE role in prioritization. We can make a list all day but knowing what needs to be done and paying for it are two completely different things. Sometimes money is tight, and you just can’t do everything, or even the top-level things, all at once. If you have an absolutely critical issue but just don’t have the money, we do offer credit options. Our Advisors can help you with that, too. There is no cookie-cutter process to determine what’s most important for your vehicle. Wise prioritization depends on your goals and budget as well as the experience of your Service Advisor. At Auto Plus, we believe a collaborative and transparent approach to auto repair is the best way to achieve success. It may be an art to choose among competing mechanical priorities, but one thing makes it easier… we always remember that YOU are our FIRST priority!