Taking your car into the mechanic is something we all want to avoid if possible, but it’s something we all end up having to do from time to time.
When something does go wrong, it’s important that you go to a reputable and trustworthy mechanic who’s going to get the job done at a fair price.
With that in mind, here five top questions you should be asking a mechanic before using them.
Can I Get a Written Estimate?
The last thing you want is for any nasty surprises when it comes to paying for your repairs, so be sure to get a written estimate up front.
Make sure that any estimate that you’re given covers absolutely everything, including the work itself, the parts, taxes and any discounts.
Some mechanics will tack on little hidden extras, so make it absolutely clear whether the price you’re being given is the absolute final one.
Here’s a handy guide to understanding mechanic’s estimates (it can be easier said than done!).
Do You Specialize in a Particular Type of Car/Work?
A mechanic is hardly likely to advertise the fact, but lots of them do specialise in a certain type of work or car.
While this doesn’t mean that they’ll refuse certain jobs, it does mean that they might not quite have the required expertise and skills to do the job properly, so try to ascertain where the garage’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
If you’re paying a garage good money to work on your car, you want to know that they know what they’re doing.
Do You Use OEM or Aftermarket Parts?
Most independent garages use aftermarket parts, whereas the manufacturer’s dealership will use genuine (OEM) parts, but what’s the difference?
Aftermarket parts are often cheaper, but OEM parts are ones which have been made specifically with your vehicle in mind.
According to genuine VW parts dealer, VW Motor Parts: “When you choose genuine parts, you can count on the highest quality.
“Genuine parts are manufactured to strict quality standards imposed by the engineers for an exact fit and precise operation.
“Many non-genuine parts may claim to be manufacturer’s quality, but they are not produced to meet Honda’s engineering and material specifications.”
Are the Parts Under Warranty?
You should always check whether the parts which you’re having repaired are covered by warranty, because if you’ve only purchased the vehicle recently, then they should be.
If you opt for aftermarket replacement parts then the chances are that they won’t be covered under warranty, whereas OEM parts will be (usually for around a year).
Something also worth noting is that by using aftermarket parts, you’ll probably be voiding your vehicle’s warranty as well if this was still valid, but this is all stuff you should check over with the mechanic.
This guide from GoCompare is very helpful when it comes to car warranties.
Here’s What’s Broken, What Do You Think the Problem Is?
What we’re trying to say here is, go to the mechanic with the symptom, and let them do their job.
Even if you have a decent idea what might be wrong, don’t try and tell the mechanic what to do, as at best it’ll be annoying, but at worst you could end up influencing them into making a wrong diagnosis. Simply let them know what the problem is and let the pros figure it out!