4 Steps to Having a Safe Road Trip

It’s finally Summer and it’s finally time to take that road trip you have been waiting to take all year! Before you leave though, I have taken some time to put together a short list so you can make sure to have safe travels.

Step One: Inspect Your Vehicle

Whether you’re just going to a near by state or traveling across the country, you should always have your vehicle inspected. Imagine how awful it would be if you broke down? You don’t want to have to deal with that while you’re on your vacation. So to prevent this, have your vehicle inspected the week before you leave to make sure everything’s in top shape. Once your vehicle is inspected you can leave for your trip worry free, knowing that your car can handle the mileage.

Step Two: Have Your Vehicle Washed & Cleaned out

You don’t necessarily have to take your vehicle to the car wash and make it look spotless inside and out. What does need to be cleaned though, are the windows, lights, and clutter from inside the car. You want to always have a clear view of your surroundings while driving, and you can get rid of a distraction by cleaning out the clutter of the vehicle.

Step Three: Stay Alert

This goes back to what I was saying about getting rid of a distraction. You want to, and need to stay focused while driving. Not because you are a bad driver, but because anything can happen. People run stop lights, switch lanes without blinkers, text, read, look at GPS, and all other sorts of things while they drive. You never know when someone isn’t going to be paying attention and run into you. This is why you must take it upon yourself to stay alert.

Step Four: Pack an Emergency Car Kit

Accidents happen, and you need to be prepared. Here are a few items you should bring along in case of emergency:

  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flares
  • Jumper Cables
  • First Aid kit
  • Tool Kit
  • Non-Perishable Snacks
  • Lots of Water
  • Chargers for all of Your Devices

If you follow these 4 simple steps, you are sure to have a much safer trip.

How to Choose: Independent Repair Shops VS Dealerships

When something goes wrong with your vehicle, you want to get it back to perfect condition as fast as possible. But, what is the best option when it comes to getting your vehicle fixed? Should you choose the dealership or a independent mechanic? Well there are pros and cons to both.

Independent Repair Shops

 

Price: If it’s the price we’re talking about, then the independent shops have the dealerships beat. Independent shops are competitive and want your business. If they are one of the good one, they will get to know you and cut you deals down the road as well.

Labor: Independents can be as technically proficient as factory trained dealership mechanics. In fact, most independent mechanics started out as dealership mechanics.

Equipment: Independent shops can order original manufacturer parts for repairs. However, they can offer more options as well. Such as, less expensive alternative parts, or even rebuilt parts that perform the same function. Keep in mind that independent repair shops may turn down repairs if they don’t specialize in your car brand.

Location: You will have a lot to choose from. Seeing that there can be eleven different independent shops just in your one town. This is a good thing and a bad thing, the good thing is that one of those shops is bound to be spectacular, the bad thing is figuring out which one will take care of you the best. Also, based on the shops location they may only have two garages, so you will have to be patient if they are working with other customers.

Customer Satisfaction: You will personally meet the mechanic that is working on your car and go over the problems with him, there is no middle man. The mechanic will answer to you directly because they don’t have to answer to manufacture as the dealership would have to. The independent garages start from scratch to build their relationship with you, they do not give free service to foster goodwill.

 

Dealerships

Price: Dealerships are definitely more pricey. However, dealership mechanics are well experienced in the brand they work for. They will and should know everything about your vehicle. The question is, are you will to pay a good bit extra for known experience?

Labor: Dealerships pay higher salaries for highly experienced technicians. But, this means you’ll have to pay higher prices for their services. Dealership mechanics are regularly trained for your auto brand only.

Equipment: Dealerships are required to use factory made equipment and parts from the manufacturer. This ensures high quality for every repair. However, if a part is out of stock, They will have to have it shipped. Which translates into, longer wait time and higher price.

Location: Dealerships aren’t quite as convenient as an independent shop. You’ll have to track one down and the drive time may be more than you want to travel. Though the dealership will most likely have the nicer location and waiting room. Such as, soft cushy chairs, large TV’s for your entertainment, and they will likely have shuttles or loaner cars ready for you while mechanics work on your vehicle.

Customer Satisfaction: A large number of vehicles dealerships repairs are free and under warranty, so they don’t have to work as hard to attract or keep customers. You probably won’t meet your mechanic, seeing that a Service Advisor (the middle man) is who you will speak with about your repair needs. Also, Service Managers will make a commission from their work. So when they recommend a repair, they get a percentage of the parts and labor.