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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Want to work with a professional body shop? We’ve been delighting clients for years. Check out some of our client reviews here.