Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Note on Car Repair

One thing I'm trying out with my blog when I'm not posting pictures of Robert is writing reviews for various web services. I get compensated for these reviews, but they do not tell me what to write, or even that I have to say nice things in order to be compensated. All my opinions here are my own.

Today I checked out a website called RepairPal. Car repair has been a subject kind of near and dear to my heart since Robert was born, since I've been worrying about what we're supposed to do about our heat and air conditioning. The AC in our car works until the temperature goes up to about 85, then it completely fails. This makes the car very, very hot, which can't be good for a very small person. I had it into the dealership last year to get it looked at, but they said it would cost 1600 dollars, when we bought the car for six grand. Ouch! There has to be a better way, but I'm not at all familiar with car repair places around here.

RepairPal offers a directory of auto shops, along with estimates of what a specific repair is going to look like in your area. I started out with a list of San Diego auto repair places, but it was easy to put in the information I wanted to find out about my car and my city. I put in that I wanted to know about an AC Compressor replacement on my 2001 Honda Civic, and it gave me an estimate of 600-1100 dollars (hey!) and a list of possible repair shops in my area. Needless to say, I'm going to be doing a little calling around when I scrape up the money for some car repair. They also have helpful articles like what to do if your check engine light comes on. I like that, as I know nothing whatsoever about cars, and am more likely to be baffled than concerned by any car problem that arises.

The site also has a section for reviews and ratings of cars, along with lists of recalls and safety bulletins for your vehicles. So if you're car shopping and looking at, say, 1999 Ford F-150, you can enter that, and read up on what people have said about theirs, and what kind of repair problems it might have. This is a nice feature, but I was kind of confused by the Recalls section. I looked up my Honda again, because we just got it called in for a recall on the driver's-side airbag, but I didn't find that recall listed. There were a lot of safety bulletins about the air bags though, and it might have been included in one of those.

Overall, I think it's a neat site, and I'm going to bookmark it to look at again next time I need repairs on the car. If nothing else, I will feel a lot better going into a repair shop after reading a description of my problem and getting even a broad estimate on what it should cost to fix it. It has a nice clean interface, and it doesn't cost anything to use, which is a vital point for me. I like it.

Oh and here, to round out this essay, is a picture of our car, Buddy Lumpkins, on the way home from the hospital with Robert. I had to clip it from a video file, as we do not actually take many pictures of the car. Go figure!

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