Everyone needs their car serviced from time to time. If you have a new vehicle, you can probably count on those being infrequent trips. If you have an older one, those visits might happen multiple times every year.
Most people don’t exactly look forward to visiting their mechanic. They might find themselves trying to describe a persistent smell they’ve noticed, or maybe they’ll have to try and duplicate the noise the car makes so that the mechanic has some idea of the issue.
You want a few things from your mechanic when they service your car. We’ll talk about some of those right now.
1. You Don’t Want Them to Talk Down to You
Telletire reminds folks that “bringing your car in for service can be a hassle.” That’s probably an understatement. If you know nothing about cars or very little about them, you have no choice but to trust your neighborhood mechanic’s competence.
The thing is, though, some mechanics might talk down to you if you do not know much about vehicles. They may have a superior attitude because they know about this area, and you do not.
You want your mechanic to explain what’s going on with your car in simple English but not condescend to you. It’s sometimes tough to find someone like that. You want a mechanic who can take care of the issue but who will also try to relate to you as a human being.
2. You Want Them to Know What’s Going on with the Car
You also want a mechanic who can immediately figure out what’s happening with the vehicle and will not try to guess if they aren’t sure. Ideally, you want a mechanic who specializes in the kind of car you have.
If you have a brand-new, top-of-the-line sports car, for instance, and you take it to the mechanic on the corner who doesn’t know the first thing about it, they should tell you that. Maybe they want the money they can make when they try to fix it, but if they don’t know how to do so, you’re looking for honesty from them.
If they don’t know what’s happening with your car, they should tell you so, and hopefully, they will quickly point you in the direction of someone who does. That’s how you know your mechanic is not trying to rip you off because they suspect that you don’t know any better.
3. You Want Them to Charge the Right Amount
You also don’t want your mechanic to overcharge you for the work they do. There are more than a few mechanics who will tack on hundreds of extra dollars or more if they feel like you don’t know enough about vehicles and what their parts cost to catch them in the act.
These days, it helps to get a mechanic who you trust implicitly. It might take years to try and establish that kind of relationship. Failing that, you can do some online research to try and figure out what a new part or repair will cost before you take your vehicle into the shop.
If your mechanic says something will cost a certain amount for parts and labor, you can immediately get on your phone and Google that part and job. If you see that what they want to charge you is way off base, you can take the vehicle somewhere else, and you will know not to go back to that mechanic anymore for future work.
4. You Want Them to be Close to You
You also want to be able to take your car to a mechanic who is not hundreds of miles away. The chances are high that you can find a mechanic close to your home, but are they any good? You’re looking for that rare combination of a skilled mechanic who is also not that far from your home base.
If you establish a rapport with a particular mechanic, you might be willing to go a little further afield to get them to service the car, but there has to be a limit on that. If you have to drive more than half an hour to get someone you like to service the car, it’s probably best that you start looking for an alternative nearby.
5. You Don’t Want Them to Take Too Long
You also want a mechanic who can service your car relatively quickly. If you have to use the car to drive to and from work, as well as places like the grocery store, picking your kids up from school, etc., you don’t want a mechanic who will take several weeks to handle a minor fix.
If you find that your mechanic takes longer, significant repairs or a part replacement might be the only time that’s permissible. The only exception would be if your mechanic can give you a loaner until you can pick up your car. If they have one in decent shape and they’ll let you drive it until you get your vehicle back, you might be okay with that.
Finding a good mechanic can be the same as finding a good barber. You need to locate someone who you trust, and hopefully, the two of you can continue to have a fruitful professional relationship for several years to come.
If you get a new car that your mechanic doesn’t know how to repair, if that mechanic retires, or they start operating out of a garage that’s farther away, you’ll have to adjust accordingly. Aside from all that, you want your mechanic and their coworkers to greet you and seem appreciative of you when you come in to drop your car off.
Some mechanics can be surly, but there’s no reason you have to put up with that. You are doing them a favor by offering them work. They aren’t doing you a favor by doing that job for you. Remember that the next time you need car repairs.