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Car Talk.

By Jack Biddle.

Money’s tight; trust is needed.

Money may be tight, but we still need to keep the wheels turning and it all comes down to trust.

It’s no secret and no surprise that many businesses, families and individuals around the Peninsula are doing it tough financially at the moment.

Past cyclones, floods and a broken roading network have meant that regular visitor numbers are down, creating a negative trickle-down financial effect on the economy and throughout the wider community in general.

Add in the seemingly ongoing increases in food prices, and it’s little wonder the family car can get pushed down the queue when it comes to prioritising where the next pay cheque is spent.

Let’s not forget also, that the Government’s current fuel subsidy of 25 cents per litre ends at the close of this month (June) which means come July 1, pump prices will automatically increase which is another blow to those already running on a tight budget.

Supporting local business is an obvious way to keep money circulating in the community with the vehicle servicing and repair network no exception. They, like every other business, need to keep staff busy, have ongoing financial commitments to keep the business operating and the only way to do that is through carrying out regular servicing and general repair work for their regular clientele.

The reality however is, when money is tight, charity begins at home and priorities have to be made including just how much should be spent on keeping one’s vehicle safe and reliable.

In short, there has never been a better time to have a close and trusted working relationship with your current service provider.

So if your vehicle is due for a regular service check, then ask your service provider for an estimate on cost before handing over the keys. Most garages should be able to provide a close to reality estimate based on the vehicles past service history, distance travelled and its age. If you are happy with the estimate and give the go ahead to proceed, do it on the understanding that if any extra work is discovered, then you must be contacted with another estimate of costs before proceeding.

A trusted repairer should be able to tell you where the extra work sits in order of priority and urgency as well.

There is often a significant difference between a simple recommendation and an urgent need to repair or replace. Worn brakes, for example, can mean the brake linings are on the limit or they may not last until the next service which could be several months away. A recommendation to change transmission or coolant fluids immediately is usually hardly life threatening to the vehicle and can wait until finances improve.

The important point is that the customer is made fully aware of any recommended work and its urgency plus the estimated cost before work has started.

If however all the household bills fall at the same time and your vehicle is due for a service you simply can’t afford, then ask your garage to carry out a simple peace-of-mind check to ensure there is nothing obvious wrong. A quick check of fluid levels and tyre pressures plus a quick non-invasive check-over may get you through until you can afford a more in-depth and recommended service. If you are a loyal and long-time customer, you may even find a quick check over will be done free of charge. The repairer will get the work eventually, so it’s all about a little bit of goodwill at a given time.

Caption: Car repair.

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