When you roll into the shop, you’re trusting one of your most invaluable assets to the shop’s mechanics. They’re tasked with getting your vehicle in working order in the fastest and most cost-efficient way possible. Unfortunately, this can clash with some of the mechanic’s goals, which is how you end up with a higher bill and longer wait. It’s important that you recognize the signs early to figure out whether your mechanic is making honest work or trying to grift you along the way.
No insistence on the maintenance
Before you agree to have every part of your car checked out and repaired, you have to ask yourself whether it’s even necessary. The golden standard for car maintenance is the manual’s maintenance schedule.
Any mechanic that argues against it isn’t really doing you any favours. There’s no particular reason you would take your car in for early maintenance unless there has been significant contamination in some way. Shady mechanics will argue that the manufacturers don’t know a lot about the car models, so their manuals shouldn’t be trusted. This is a ridiculous argument, as the manufacturers designed and built the cars, while also testing their limits and maintenance needs. Trusting the mechanic to decide when the car should be taken in for maintenance is sketchy at best, and harmful at worst.
This is a trick that shops both small and large use from time to time. Stay firm in your decision to stick to the manual’s recommendation and they will quickly change their tone. Don’t hold it against the mechanic, though, it’s very likely that managers require that they convince customers to go for additional maintenance.
They don’t push you on overhauls
It’s easy to give up on a part of the vehicle when it isn’t yours. Sometimes, you’re going to have to replace the entire exhaust system simply because it’s too worn out to fix. However, this isn’t going to be a common occurrence. In most cases, a simple fix is more than enough to keep the vehicle going just fine.
Why these kinds of overhauls and replacements are more common becomes clear once you remember that they’re a lot more expensive than simple repairs. In many cases, car mechanics will encourage you to go for extreme and unnecessary repairs to get “potential problems” out of the way. The thing is, as long as most of the system’s parts are in order, overhauling or replacing everything is wholly unnecessary.
A respectable mechanic will only deal with the actual problem and get you on your way. If all it takes is a bit of sealant or a quick weld, they won’t keep you for long. This is a surefire sign that you’re dealing with an honest business.
Costs don’t fluctuate much
When you leave your car at the mechanic’s, you can’t know for sure what’s wrong with it, and neither can the mechanic. Sometimes, it takes a while before the scope of the problem is noted and a repair plan is made. However, you’ll want a rough estimate of how much the repairs will cost before you come back for your vehicle.
The mechanic needs to analyze the state of the car and quickly give you a number to work with. Even if they aren’t a hundred percent sure how much time or effort they’ll spend working on the vehicle, they have to give an estimate. To avoid problems, the mechanic will give you a middle-of-the-road estimate and see how the repairs will go.
Their experience allows them to roughly gauge how much work they’ll have to do, and the prices are usually fixed. Expert mechanics that have worked with countless car models will be able to get you an accurate assessment before you’re even out of the shop. You’re not going to run into problems with Neysie Performance Centre like you would with any run-of-the-mill mechanic.
The neighbourhood mechanic’s story might end up being different. If the price you end up with is miles above what was originally estimated, something might be fishy. Either they haven’t given you a good assessment and saw the lack of experience. Or, they’re tacking on additional costs that might be unnecessary. Remember to get a written estimate for maintenance beforehand and check out the parts used in the repair.
No problem is too complex
When going to the mechanic, you’re probably not going to ask a lot of questions. If you aren’t familiar with the inner workings of a vehicle, there’s very little use in questioning the mechanic all that much. You know why you’re in the shop, but that’s pretty much the extent of your knowledge.
Still, you will have to ask the mechanic why the light is blinking or why a certain leak is present. You only wish to know how they’re going to take care of the problem. If they are hesitant to answer, that might not be the best of signs. Worse yet, they could hit you with the “it’s too complicated” line. This is a certain sign that they’re not going to be completely honest with you.
While mechanical repairs can involve complicated tools and methods, it’s not rocket science. Don’t accept a lackluster explanation for what repair is being done. It’s their duty to tell you what kind of modification and maintenance they’re going to do to your vehicle. Only when they inform you in detail they can bill you for it.
Most car mechanics won’t try to overcharge you or make unnecessary changes to your vehicle. But you can never be too careful. Spending unnecessary time and money at the mechanic is a terrible waste of time. You need to be aware of the tricks shady mechanics might try.