As much as we are a connected nation, thanks to the extensive information mega-highway known as the Internet, we were probably the most connected nation during the pre-Internet days thanks to the extensive telecommunication networks and road/rail/subway transportation grids that cover our entire country.
We take it for granted now, but even now, developing countries are still building the most basic roads just to connect their residential, commercial, and industrial zones together (if they actually had zoning, for that matter).
Why talk about this? Well, the automobile is the basic unit of personal transportation we have, and it predates our commercialized Internet access by quite a few decades. Both are technology-oriented pursuits, so it really makes sense that you would researching driving, automobile purchasing, maintenance, and other particulars using the world wide web.
So, the next time you head on over to the auto shop to have some work done on your jalopy, bring an internet-enabled smartphone or tablet along. There are perfectly good reasons to stay connected to the Internet even as your car’s oil, spark plugs, and wheels are being checked…
While I don’t want people to start distrusting their mechanic about the price of parts and servicing, you always have to get the best deals for products and services in order to make smart purchases. Whether the economy is rock-solid or in aimless freefall, you should be a smart shopper.
Always ask the shop for a quote on the parts and services they are recommending. Have your mobile internet device handy to check their quotations against other places in your area. While you shouldn’t be bargaining to the very last cent for a lower price (unless you’re really that kind of person), the prices they should be offering you shouldn’t be radically higher than the other shops.
For example, if they’re quoting an insanely high price for rims, you could always buy rims online and have them install it, or haggle the price down a bit just so you can keep your business totally in-house. A smaller profit margin is better than no profit at all; your auto shop understands that explicitly.
The mechanics and technicians at the autoshop are supposedly trained and knowledgeable at what they are doing; nevertheless, you shouldn’t be ignorant of what they are doing to your car, whether or not you are an auto buff. Having the Internet handy will keep you informed of just what procedures and products they are recommending.
Just because you have Wikipedia or some auto enthusiast site on your tablet doesn’t make you an expert. Don’t get too bossy or know-it-all around them unless you want them to respond in a “then do it yourself” fashion. Just make certain that you’re not getting taken for a ride, pun intended.
Sometimes the procedures to be done to your ride will take some time, and you might not be the type to be interested in watching them rotate the tires or wait for the oil to drain out completely. Your mobile Internet device will surely be able to give you hours of entertainment, provided that the device is fully charged, or if they allow you to plug in for power.
Connected to this, you could also take photo or video shots (what smartphone or tablet doesn’t have a camera, nowadays?) of your car as it is being worked on. That way, nobody will doubt of your present location and activity. Some people can be very paranoid or jealous, after all.
Always have your motor vehicle properly checked and maintained. Happy driving and internet surfing (don’t do both at the same time, though)!
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is constantly maintaining her automobile, and her group’s website, Word Baristas.