5 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Your Mechanic

One of the worst sounds in the world is a screeching or grinding noise under your hood. Most people don’t even think “Oh no, my car!” but rather, “Oh no, now I’ll have to go to a mechanic!” Deserved or not, the automobile industry has a reputation for dishonesty, so it’s important to be prepared before you walk into a body shop. The last thing you need on top of car trouble is an inflated bill that will suck your savings account dry! Before you hand over the keys, here are 5 things you should know when visiting a mechanic.

Visiting Your Mechanic

Visiting Your Mechanic

5: Know What’s Wrong With Your Car

If you could fix it, of course, you wouldn’t need a mechanic, but that’s no reason not to pop the bonnet and do a little DIY diagnosing. Look for things like frayed wires, blackened parts and any sources leaking smoke or fluids, then go online and type all the problems into a search engine. You should have a rudimentary idea of what’s going on with your car before you take it to a mechanic, because then you’ll know exactly what parts you need, how much those kinds of repairs typically cost and who you should get to look at your car. For example, if your differential needs checking, it should be looked at by an expert such as Diff Lapping Queensland

4: Know Their Credentials

Did they pluck their mechanics off the street? It’s more common than you think, because young, inexperienced mechanics are more likely to work for below-average pay and are more easily replaced when they finally quit. When you enter an auto shop for the first time, look for credentials displayed on the walls or awards lining the front desk. If the company has them, they should be proud to display them.

3: Know Their Customer Service Record

What do previous customers have to say about your chosen mechanic? Were they charged any hidden fees or taxes? Were any promises broken or guarantees undelivered? You can check for all of these things through online review sites. Whatever you do, don’t trust anything written on the mechanic’s personal site; those “testimonials” are almost certainly false or exaggerated. For real, unbiased reviews, find third-party websites.

2: Know Your Rights

Some states/territories require mechanics to issue an itemized estimate of everything they want to do your car before they’re legally allowed to do it. This is so they can’t cheat their customers by tacking on “unforeseen” procedures that were “necessary” for the car’s maintenance. Even if your area doesn’t offer this kind of protection, you can always request it from your auto shop. Get a written copy of the agreement signed by a supervisor or boss, not just an hourly employee, and then hold them to it. Not only will you enjoy the safeguard of a signed, written contract, but most mechanics won’t even try their usual smoke-and-mirrors routine when they see how smart and serious you are.

1: Know Their Tricks

This is perhaps the most important tip for not being hoodwinked by your mechanic. Understand their methods so you won’t get pushed around! For example, many mechanics give estimates that don’t include labour time, just the raw cost of parts. You won’t realize you’re actually paying their salary until you see your final bill.

Mechanics are also fond of suggesting maintenance that isn’t yet necessary. They’ll tell you all kinds of horror stories about how X needs to replaced before X numbers of miles, conveniently leaving out the part where you’re years away from reaching that number.

If you want to avoid tricks, traps and untruths from your mechanic, make sure you can see through all their scare tactics.

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