Time to Change the Flux Capacitor: How to Tell If You Can Actually Trust Your Mechanic
Are you a person who knows very little about cars and how they work? Most of us are, and that can become a little tricky when it comes time to check out at the mechanic.
Without specific knowledge of auto parts and car maintenance, it's difficult to know when a mechanic is making you pay for more than you need to. In reality, most mechanics could be squeezing us for additional costs in almost every transaction.
This means we need to trust our mechanic to do only the things that need to be done and be honest with us about the process and the cost. We're going to give you a few tips that you can use to make sure your mechanic is trustworthy.
How to Know Your Mechanic is Trustworthy
It's extremely difficult to know when you're mechanic is dishonest. Without taking a close look at the repairs and understanding the various functions of your car, it would be impossible for the layperson to have an educated guess as to what things cost.
Beyond the standard oil change and tune-up, most of us are clueless. Here are a few ways to get a gage on how honest your mechanic is being.
Start By Asking Questions
The most effective way to build an understanding and get a feel for your mechanic is by asking them specifics about what's going on underneath the hood.
Most mechanics will be happy to describe the process to you, but this will be a trigger for some. Those mechanics who may intend to rip you off will probably be averse to the idea of giving you specifics about what they're going to do.
Sure, every mechanic will give you the itemized list of tasks they're going to perform, but not all of them will be thorough with specifics. You can treat this as an exercise in assessing your mechanic rather than understanding your car.
Even if your mechanic goes on for fifteen minutes about the vehicle without you understanding a word, you should use this time to see how much they know about the vehicle and if they're telling you everything in detail. If their descriptions are vague and seem like efforts to get you outof the shop, it may be time to look for a new person.
Are Costs Clear?
Another sign of the good mechanic is that they're clear on costs and don't surprise you. You should have a good estimate of what your ultimate costs will be before the project is completed.
We've all experienced the dread of showing up to get our cars and hearing a total much higher than the one we expected. Things do come up in the process, and the items and labor needed to fix your car could be a lot more than was originally expected.
At the same time, a good mechanic will call you and ask your permission before they take the action to put new and expensive pieces on. Even if something is essential for your car to function, your mechanic should always call and ask your permission to do the work.
Many times, mechanics assume that because something is essential, they'll put it on without asking. This changes the cost, and people often don't have the money to cover the additional expenses.
Even if it seems like a no brainer question to make the repairs, if the mechanic calls you to ask permission, that's a good sign.
Get Part Descriptions
When working with a new mechanic, get a list of parts they're going to use to fix your car.
With an itemized sheet of the various products and services that were involved in making the repairs, you can cross-check to make sure everything looks right. First, you should look up the parts online to see how much they're going for.
This will help you to see if the mechanic is tacking on extras for individual parts. Next, see how much labor for that job typically costs. Time and labor costs are typically where you see the most expenses from dishonest mechanics.
While you can't be in the shop watching over and timing the process, you should be able to get a feel for how long it takes other mechanics to do the same job. This isn't something that most people do, so a lot of shops get away with it.
If you have something fixed and the receipt is saying it took 9 hours to work on, double check with online resources and make sure that that's a reasonable amount of time to handle the project.
Are They Offering Preventative Measures?
Finally, a good mechanic won't withhold information about your car's future. In other words, they'll let you know if there are immediate fixes that need to be made to ensure that your vehicle doesn't break down soon.
A shady mechanic won't mention these things in order to get more business down the line when your car breaks down. A good mechanic will always pose suggestions about maintenance so that you don't have any problems later.
A good way to know whether or not your mechanic is skilled and honest is to just look over how often you've been to the shop in the last couple of years. If you're going in regularly for different issues that seem to be popping up, your mechanic may be withholding information.
It's impossible to know what road conditions, hazards, or other drivers will do to your car, but there are a lot of ways that mechanics can tell if your car can expect maintenance. They should be letting you know so that you can take care of those problems before they arise.
Need a New Mechanic?
Is your mechanic doing a shady job? Even if you're not sure about the quality of your car service, you should always try different shops to find the best fit.
Contact us if you're looking to have any work done from a reputable mechanic.