Car mechanics can be a scrupulous lot. They can rip you off without batting an eyelid if you are not careful. However, the truth is, if you own a vehicle, you would need a car mechanic at some point. You just can’t fix every car problem on your own, except maybe change tires, and do some basic maintenance routines.
If it is your first time going to a car mechanic, here are some tips that can help you save more than a pretty penny.
Tips when going to a car mechanic:
Take your car manual seriously:
Before you go running to your car mechanic, make sure you read up on your car’s manual thoroughly. It has vital information on basic car repair tips. Other than that, it also information on your car’s interior and exterior colors, and trim level, which can come in handy for professionals. Make sure you keep your vehicle identification number handy when taking your car to a service center. It is required to schedule service. And keeping it handy portrays you as an informed customer, which would stop your car mechanic from blindly duping you.
Independent garage versus dealerships:
trained technicians who work specifically on the make
of the car
you have. They also
undergo regular workshops and training to enhance their
knowledge of car repairs. However, it is not just the dealerships that have the best car mechanics. A lot
of times, experienced car mechanics who have worked
at dealerships before
branch out on their own.
When it comes to deciding between independent garage and dealerships, take into account the reputation of the concerned place, any customer reviews you can find, and the cost as well. If it sounds too good to be true, you should probably skip it.
Talk about pricing:
Before you hand your keys to the car mechanic, make sure you get a fair estimate of the costing. Ask about labor rates. They are usually per hour. Inquire about the kind of servicing your car needs. Here again, reading your car manual helps. For instance, car manuals give an estimate of the time when you should go for oil change. If the service shop suggests contrary to the car manual, it should ring alarm bells.
Often, the best car mechanics out there won’t hesitate to give you a written estimate of car repairs and servicing. The final cost can vary a little from the given estimate, but too much variation entitles you to essentially sue the service center. In order to avoid such confrontations, it is best to decide on an amount beyond which you are unwilling to go. That way, the mechanic knows when to stop and ask for your permissions before proceeding.
Keep records handy:
Every time you take your car to the shop, or even go DIY on maintenance, keep a record of things. The record file should ideally be kept in the car so it’s handy. Keeping a neat record of the maintenance your car has gone through helps in quick diagnosis of problems, as and when they arise. It also helps avoid unnecessary maintenance jobs, which a lot of unscrupulous car mechanics don’t mind suggesting.
Above all else, make sure you ask your car mechanic a lot of questions. If the mechanic does not make much eye contact while talking, or tries to brush a question under the carpet, it should be warning enough to look elsewhere. It is always better safe than sorry.