When your car runs into engine trouble, you might be feeling understandably anxious about how damaged your car is and how the rest of the process will go. Before you agree to any engine repair with your mechanic, there are a few questions worth asking.
1. What Are Your Options?
Start by making sure that you're being presented with every option available to you. While your mechanic probably has a recommendation as to what type of repair you should have done on your engine, there may be other options that may be better suited to your budget or life situation. For example, while a complete engine rebuild may be ideal, your budget may not allow for such an extensive repair. An engine rebuild, after all, can easily cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000. Meanwhile, if you're planning on getting rid of the car in a few months anyway, your mechanic may be able to recommend a more short-term (and affordable) repair instead.
2. How Long Will the Repair Take?
If you don't have another car to get you where you need to go while your vehicle is in the shop, you'll want to know exactly how long your engine repairs will take. Some more simple engine repairs can be done same-day, whereas more complex repairs (like an engine rebuild) can take a week or more. If you don't have rental car reimbursement coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you may also want to check with your mechanic to see if there's a free loaner car available for you to use.
3. How Long Will the Repairs Last?
Engines are very complex and have many moving parts, so there is often a bit of "trial and error" involved with a major engine repair. With that being said, you'll want to speak to your mechanic to find out how confident he or she is in the success of the quoted repair. Ask for contingency plans and next recommended steps in the event that the repair doesn't fully solve the problem.
You'll also want to find out exactly how the mechanic stands behind their work. Aside from a manufacturer's warranty on all parts, your mechanic should include a guarantee on labor as well.
Dealing with unexpected auto repairs can be stressful, but by finding the right mechanic (and asking the right questions), you'll be back on the road in no time.