If you need car repairs, you’re probably looking for a good mechanic. But what makes a body shop great car mechanics in general? What qualities should you look for? How should they interact with you? And what recourse do you have if something goes wrong? We’ll help you understand in this 7-minute read.
1. What qualities make a good mechanic?
Everyone will likely agree that a good mechanic knows how to fix nearly every car that rolls onto the lot, first and foremost. They’ll have access to a wide array of resources and knowledge to diagnose and repair any problem with your vehicle. And they will charge you a fair price to do so. They won’t try to confuse or confound you during the process. Lastly, they will get your informed consent at each stage before carrying out the work. And they then guarantee the quality of that work for a reasonable period of time.
2. How do I find a good car mechanic?
There are a lot of ways to find a good car mechanic. First, and most commonly, you could do a search for local mechanics in your area. Read the recent reviews (especially for similar car complaints) and see how other customers found the experience. But asking friends and family for recommendations shouldn’t be overlooked either. They may be able to make a personal referral and get you seen sooner than if you simply rang up. Remember to always check the garage has the right certifications & training to make whatever types of repairs your vehicle requires.
3. How do you know if your mechanic is scamming you?
Well, the easiest way to know if your mechanic is scamming you is to get a second quote. But that’s not always possible or easy if the car is totally broken down and in the possession of the garage. So, look for these subtle clues:
- The car is never ready when they say it will be. While issues do happen, if they are always late in fixing your vehicle it might be that they’re not as experienced with your make and model.
- If they won’t give you a quote or require full payment upfront. You should never pay more than half upfront for a repair with an honest shop.
- If they seem to be trying to scare you about how serious a problem is. Walk away if you’re being given the scare treatment, especially if it’s not for the issue you came in to repair.
- If they only take cash. If a problem does arise, cash is a very insecure form of payment.
- If they won’t show you the old parts once they replace them. Basically, if you can’t see what’s wrong, it’s possible nothing was wrong in the first place.
- When they won’t explain anything to you. Fixing a car is hard but it’s not rocket science. If the mechanic won’t tell you what is wrong and what they need to do to fix it in simple terms, they are probably just trying to run up the clock.
- If they have mostly bad reviews online. Don’t think you won’t join that trend.
- If they suggest a workaround, not a fix. This may mean they are trying to cut corners or don’t have the skills needed to do the job.
- If they don’t guarantee their work. Sure, they don’t have any control over how you drive, but only a scammer will provide no guarantees at all.
4. How do I know if my mechanic is honest?
You can tell you’re dealing with an honest mechanic if they give you a full quote in advance and explain in detail what, how and why you need this repair. A good mechanic will insist on good quality parts and won’t force you to pay in cash. They’ll show you the old parts so you can understand where they failed. Lastly, they will provide a guarantee of some sort regarding their work and provide you with the details of that on your receipt.
5. Do mechanics have to give you the old parts?
Yes, as long as you tell them that you want them, then the mechanic has to give you the old parts. According to the Motor Ombudsman, “As the owner of the vehicle, you are entitled to keep any parts that are removed from your car during a service or repair, regardless of their condition. When booking in your car for work, it is important that you notify the garage at this stage not to dispose of any old parts that are taken off your vehicle.”
6. Do you pay for car repair before or after?
Do not pay the entire cost of repair upfront under any circumstances. Wait until the repair is completed and the full actual cost is calculated, then pay for your repairs. If the body shop asks you to pay 50% in advance, this is reasonable if it’s an expensive repair with costly parts. Remember to put down in writing precisely what repairs you are authorising them to undertake and if further repairs require your direct sign-off. This can help prevent costly misunderstandings while the work is ongoing.
7. What can you do when a mechanic rips you off?
First, you should always try to seek a resolution with the garage first. You don’t need to pay while you’re disputing a bill and they can’t sell your car while the dispute is ongoing. Citizens Advice explains, “If you need the car back but aren’t happy with the amount you have to pay, you can pay ‘under protest’ then continue with your dispute. This means you are paying the full amount but letting the garage know that they can expect further action. Write the words “paying under protest” clearly on their copy of the repair order sheet and any copies of receipts that the garage [makes].” Then you can try to get your money back through the courts or via any motoring standard agencies the shop is a part of.
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