This past spring, the A/C on my car went out. “That’s okay,” I told myself, “it really doesn’t get that hot here in Southern California.” Fast forward to August, and I’m driving my two kids to Los Angeles, during the middle of one of the hottest heat waves to have hit us. As we’re cruising up the freeway, windows rolled down, not talking (because you can’t hear above the wind rushing through the car), I look in my rear view mirror, and my son’s face is beet red while my daughter has rivers of sweat coming down the sides of her face. “Hmmmm,” I thought, “maybe it’s time to get this fixed.”
Let’s fast forward again, this time from August to October. The A/C still isn’t fixed. Why? Well, the weather is cooling down and my 120,000 mile check-up is due. Why take the car in two separate times, right?
So here we are in November. I still haven’t reached the 120,000 mile mark, my A/C is still not producing cold air, and my husband asks, “When was the last time you replaced your tires? They’re looking a bit bald.” “I dunno,” I reply, looking sheepishly at the ground. He asks again, and again, until I finally schlep out the paperwork and see that its been since 2007.
To recap: A/C is out since spring, 120,000 mile check-up is approaching, and now I need new tires. Oh, and did I mention that my car is the “family car?” So, it’s the one we take everywhere, which means that the likelihood of us being that family on the side of the freeway, next to their broken down car, could be us.
So when I was asked if I’d be interested in trying out the Repair Pal app, I was more than excited. Described as helping you find the right price to pay for your repair, as well as helping find a great mechanic in your area and keeping your car records in one easy place, I thought it was the perfect chance to see what I was in for when I finally did drive up to the mechanic’s shop.
First, I checked out the shops that were near me, and I was blown away by how many mechanics are in my small town that I had never heard of. As I scrolled through each one, I was able to see who they were affiliated with, what special amenities they had (For example, one described themselves as “child friendly.” Hello! I’m there. . .), and if someone had reviewed them, what they had to say—the good, the bad and the ugly.
Next, I plugged in my car’ stats—model, make, year and how many miles it had on it. From here, I could go to a list of everything that could possibly be wrong with the car and get an estimate. So of course, I went to Air Conditioning Diagnosis to see what I was in for cost wise. It gave me an average price for the mechanics in my town, and then listed a “best practices,” “common symptoms,” and “common misdiagnoses” so I knew how to talk the talk when I was speaking with the mechanic. That definitely does something for your confidence. When I was done reading, I saved the info to “my car” so, when it was time to go and get it fixed, I’ll have it at my fingertips.
After perusing all of Repair Pal’s info, I now know how much to expect to pay at my 120,000 mile tune-up, what they’ll be looking at (tires is one of them, so I’ll let them tell me if I need to replace my tires, instead of going to the tire shop first), and how best to explain what’s going on with my A/C. Since I haven’t been 100% satisfied at my current mechanic, I now know of other options courtesy of Repair Pal—much easier than scrolling down a phone book! I’ll also be able to plug in all the work that was done, so the next time my husband asks, “When was the last time. . .?” I’ll just need to pull out my phone to answer.
But the best thing? The one touch roadside assistance option. You get free access to Repair Pal’s Roadside Assistance Network, and only pay when you need it. So, if you’re driving the family around in a car that needs a bit of TLC (ahhem) you’ll have peace of mind if you actually do break down. And you’ll be able to make an educated guess on which mechanic you want your car towed to, even if you’ve never set foot in the area. Bring on the road trips!
The RepairPal 2.0 Mobile app sells for US$4.99. Click here to purchase the RepairPal 2.0 Mobile App or to learn more about it.