At one point or another, you’ll notice that something is off with your car. You may be driving to work in peace when you feel that the engine is making loud noises, the car jolts when you shift gears, or your pedals are spongy when you step on them. What’s going on?
The safest decision is to turn to a professional right away, but many people are not so easy to trust just any person or company with their car. After all, owning a vehicle is a big investment, and it gets bigger still when you land right into the hands of people who either overcharge or can’t get the job done right.
This makes it crucial for you to make the most of your first encounter with the mechanic you go to. You need to know exactly what to ask to guarantee that they’re the right person for you and your car.
Familiarity with Your Car
Mechanics and auto repair shops don’t always handle all kinds of cars. A lot of them specialize and hire technicians who are qualified to work on certain models. So if your car is the type that needs special attention and parts, you’ll want to know that the mechanic you’re talking to has the right skills, supplies, and experience to pull off the job. Anything less might leave you dissatisfied and even cause problems in the future that will be more costly to repair.
Connection to Automotive Associations
When you’re studying your options for car body repair, go for those connected with automotive associations. A reputable company will be a member of one or two in your locality so that there’s a governing body making sure they adhere to industry regulations. These associations will also have a code of ethics that determine how they should operate. Ask the mechanic who’s looking at your car about this and double-check online. It’s not rude or paranoid–it’s about guaranteeing your security and that of your car.
It’s always safer to get transactions in writing. If things go downhill because of a misunderstanding, you can fall back on a written record of what you agreed upon to resolve it. Attach your car’s diagnosis to it and make sure that the repair estimate is as detailed as possible. You’ll especially want to see any replacement that will be made, the labor charge, and the terms surrounding this agreement. A written record will make you feel safer in your transaction, and the mechanic will know that you’ll have the upper hand in any legal action you may decide to take.
An Approachable Spirit
Remember that you’ll want to work with a mechanic, so he or she must be willing to explain the repairs to you. It’s a red flag if they can’t take the time to answer your questions and make it clear why the additional work they want to do on your car is necessary. Having a good relationship with your mechanic makes it easier to address concerns you may have and get a repair done again when needed. By that time, they’ll know the history of your car well enough to determine what’s causing the problem and how to solve it.
Choosing Car Parts Yourself
You’ll want to work with mechanics who let you decide on the car parts you want to use. In general, you can opt for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or used parts that are still functioning well. Your mechanic will make recommendations, but they should be open to choosing alternatives that allow you to save money. If you’re not keen on cutting costs, they should also be okay with you going for the OEM, even if it gives them the extra work of obtaining the said part for your car. Ultimately, a mechanic that honors your decisions and opts for what’s best for you and the car is the one you’ll want to go to.
Will they call you before doing something outside of what you talked about? You need to know these practices if you are to ensure that your car is in good hands. If there’s anything they want to do that wasn’t placed in the written record you requested, they have to coordinate with you first. It is never okay for them to proceed with work that you haven’t pre-approved because that will inflate your invoice without you knowing it. That’s a sure sign that they can’t be trusted, and you have to find a new mechanic.
Better Nosy Than Sorry
Many people don’t ask questions out of fear that they’ll seem rude or come off as suspicious. While there’s a right way to make these inquiries, you have to understand that it’s your right to know what services you’ll be paying for and if they’re the ones you want and need. You’re the car owner, and if something goes wrong, the responsibility falls on you for not taking extra precautions.