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How old is the car you drive? If you are driving an averagevehicle, then your car is around 10 years old, according to R. L.Polk & Co. Which means it needs plenty of tender lovingcare.

More and more people are keeping their cars longer rather thanbuying new, and it’s reflected in auto part sales. Keeping your carin good shape is important if you want to hold onto it for manymore years. Here are some tips from the nonprofit NationalInstitute for Automotive Service Excellence to help you find goodautomotive service and easily communicate with a technician aboutany problems you may be experiencing:

* Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in theparking lot equal in value to your own. Look also for modernequipment in the service bays.

* Pay attention to policies regarding estimated repair costs,diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment,etc.

* Bring a written list of the symptoms that you can give to theservice consultant or mechanic/auto technician.

* Resist the temptation to suggest a specific course of repair.Just as you would with your family doctor, tell where it hurts, howlong it’s been that way and let the auto technician diagnose and recommend aremedy.

* Look for evidence of qualified technicians, including tradeschool diplomas, certificates of advanced coursework and techniciancertification by ASE to indicatethe presence of professional, trained technicians.

* Don’t rush the shop by asking for an on-the-spot diagnosis.Request to be called and apprised of the problem, course of actionand costs before the work begins.

* If you do have problems, or the shop was subpar in youropinion, schedule a time to meet with the owner or manager.Professionally run establishments will try to resolve legitimateconsumer complaints.

* Reward good service with repeat business and customerloyalty.

To learn more about how to communicate with your autotechnician, find a repair shop near you, or to download free carcare tips, visit www.ase.com.