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Car Maintenance & Repair

• Make sure the work ticket lists the symptoms your car is experiencing, not recommended repair. If you have to bring it in again for the same repair, make sure the ticket lists the same symptoms.

• Write "estimate only" on the work ticket, or "I authorize repairs up to (a specific dollar amount)."

• If the estimate is large, take it to another mechanic for a second opinion. If your car is not drive-able, have it towed to another repair shop for a second estimate.

• If your car is towed to a mechanic, don't allow the tow-truck driver to choose the repair shop. He or she may be paid to steer your vehicle to a particular shop.

• Don't rely on a nationally famous name when you go for a car repair. Too often at a franchise location, the parent company fails to accept responsibility for a problem.

• Beware of specialty repair shops, particularly brake and muffler shops. A good reputation goes a long way.

• Having your oil changed at an oil-change shop is fine, but don't authorize any other work.

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New Survey of the Most Reliable Cars

When you buy a new car, you want to make sure it's going to be a reliable ride. I have new info to share on that front from the annual Consumer Reports auto reliability survey. What Consumer Reports does each year represents the most extensive survey of automotive reliability. This ...

Best Cars for Teen Drivers

When it comes to the best cars for teen drivers, safety is a key concern. I used to say you wanted teen drivers in an underpowered car with a lot of metal around them. That traditionally meant a 4-cylinder sedan. But because of tech advances in 4-cylinder engines,  Consumer Reports ...

Buying a Car at Auction -- Life With a $5,000 Vehicle

As I reported a few weeks ago, I bought a 2005 Volvo wagon at public auction for under my budget of $5,000.  That’s a pretty darn good buy one would think, but I wasn't going to rely on my opinion only so the first stop was at a trusted mechanic. ...

Why Is CarMax Allegedly Selling Recalled Vehicles?

CarMax is the dominant seller of used cars in the United States. But there's some ugliness involving our nation's vehicle recall epidemic that I need you to know about. First off, I have always been a fan of Carmax. They've been around for 20 years and were started in Richmond, ...

Should You Pay For Premium Gas?

We Americans have very short memories. When the price of a barrel of oil hit a record-high of $147 in July 2008, I took a ton of calls from people who wanted to dump their SUVs and buy a hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle. But as prices subsided, Americans resumed ...

Save 15 Cents/Gallon On Gasoline

If you are looking to save money on gas, Wal-Mart has a big offer for you in nearly 20 states. The mega-retailer is offering a discount of 15 cents/gallon all summer long through September 8. It's available at any Wal-Mart gas station if you use a Wal-Mart money card or ...

No car warranty? No worries!

No car warranty? No worries!

Do you have anxiety because your car warranty is about to run out? Clark has advice that will ease your mind.

Best Auto Insurance Companies

Thinking about shopping your auto insurance? A new Consumer Reports tally reveals the best auto insurance companies. Car insurance ads on TV promise accident forgiveness, vanishing deductibles, and other selling points. But those features are just a side show to the main act, which is a company's reputation with satisfying ...

Why A Diesel Engine Won't Automatically Save You Money

Have you been eyeing a diesel-powered car in the hopes of bringing down the cost of driving?  Have the advertisements promising 45 mpg got you convinced that diesel is the secret to lowering your cost per mile? As enticing as these ads are, there are costs that cloud the waters ...

Are Extended Car Warranties Worth It?

Auto repair service plans can be enticing in an era when people are keeping their cars longer. But I say they're a waste of your money. Why extended auto warranties should make you think twice... I saw a recent article in Real Simple magazine about these third-party extended warranties that ...

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