We would all like to believe that our mechanics are trustworthy, upright individuals who want happy customers and safe cars as much as anyone else. That’s not always true, however. When it comes to ensuring your mechanic is honest, trustworthy, qualified, and not charging you way too much, it could be worth learning a few savvy questions to ask.
Are you familiar with this car?
When choosing a car, you might not be aware just how different one model can be from another under the hood. Their engines can vary, their electronics can vary, and of course, there are the differences between electric, hybrid, and more traditional cars. You want to make sure that your mechanic is specifically familiar with your car. There’s also the fact that independent mechanics outside the dealership where you bought your car can save you a lot of time and money. But only if they actually know what they have their hands on.
Are you certified?
A mechanic doesn’t have to necessarily be certified by any industry board in order to practice. However, it is the mark of a mechanic who has been deemed up-to-scratch by others in their field. There are a few different bodies offering certification like the AAA and ASE. Many of them also contain databases that can help you find certified mechanics, so check out their site. Certification is also an indication that your mechanic is keeping up with ongoing training and stay up-to-date in an industry that can change dramatically as time goes on.
Who’s your supplier?
Where does your mechanic get their parts from? Are they willing to let you go directly to their suppliers? You might save a lot of money on the materials used to maintain your car if you learn more about who provides them with their maintenance supplies. When it comes to replacement parts, you want to make sure that your mechanic isn’t marking up the prices of individual components too much, too. Savvy drivers will always shop around for parts rather than just relying on the mechanic to find them all for them. Of course, if you’re getting serviced by the dealership you bought your car at, you might benefit from using your warranty to get replacement parts directly from the car’s manufacturer.
What happens if you don’t fix this?
An untrustworthy mechanic will make every potential repair they spot sound like life and death, but that’s not often the case. Ask for a detailed explanation of what happens if you don’t get it fixed there and then. Most will be aware you might be savvy enough to spot if they try to embellish things. Take some time to think about it if it turns out it isn’t too dangerous or essential, and think about whether you could save some money by making the fixes yourself.
Don’t be afraid of asking uncomfortable questions. If a mechanic gets too defensive or acts insulted, there’s a good chance it’s because they have something to hide. Good mechanics know it’s important for drivers to be concerned about the services they use and will be upfront and honest.