As someone who is mostly clueless about cars I have had to learn about what it takes to trust a mechanic. My husband has taught me a thing or two (thank goodness or I’d probably be paying through the nose for repairs) and I want to share those tips with you. I amazes me how many mechanics try to push unnecessary work onto cars to get an extra buck or two. Although this isn’t true in every case, sometimes it’s easy to get swindled.
Do Your Research Before Picking a Mechanic
The internet is a great resource for reviews of businesses, but the most reliable resource is other people who have used that mechanic. You can’t necessarily trust a place just because it’s a chain mechanic store. Don’t be afraid to ask people about their experiences with the mechanic and don’t be afraid to look them up with better business bureau. You can never be too safe when it comes to selecting someone to trust your car with.
Don’t Let Them Charge you for Looking at the ‘Check Engine’ Light
If your ‘check engine’ light comes on, do not take it to mechanic, not at first anyway. They will try and charge you when many auto parts stores will do it for free. Auto-Zone is one that I know does it for free. Just call the store and they will tell you whether or not they check those things. Did you know your check engine light can come on if the Gas Cap isn’t on right? Not only that but the light will stay on for a day or so after you’ve fixed it. You don’t want to pay money for something as simple as that.
Ask About Fees Before Hand
Each company has different fees that go along with their work. Make sure you are informed about how much they charge per hour for labor and what other fees there might be (part shipping for example). Don’t be afraid to press them until they disclose all, and don’t accept any other fees that weren’t discussed beforehand. Make sure you get an estimate in writing with a disclosure of all the fees. That way they can’t stab your back later because it is their word against yours.
Beware of the Phrase ‘We Also Found’
You came to the mechanic for a reason. Whatever that reason was, stick to it. Unless it’s something that directly affects the main reason for bringing in your car, don’t let them talk you into getting something else done. If you give them a little elbow room they will walk all over you and you will be the one paying for it. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if the guy is really persuasive. You have every right to take your car somewhere else, and that threat alone might be enough to get a mechanic to be more honest.
It never hurts to push a mechanic to be the best and most honest workers they can be. If you step into a store prepared for all of the eventualities, you’ll find yourself with a much better experience and working car to show for it. Never give up, and never back down.