When your wheels need a bit of TLC you choose a mechanic to give it the attention it needs. Getting the right one can save you money and ensure your car’s always running smoothly, no matter the season.
Buuuut, this means you’ve got to do your research. Here are a few things you can ask to help you choose a mechanic who’s reliable, professional, and affordable.
The questions you should ask to help choose a mechanic
It can be difficult to sort the good from the bad. And you always want to avoid wondering ‘is my mechanic ripping me off’, right?
Present these questions to the mechanics on your shortlist.
1. “How do you explain what you need to do without jargon?”
Car stuff is like science stuff. There’s no point explaining details of a complicated repair to someone who doesn’t understand what happens under the bonnet. To make an informed decision about your car’s repairs, your mechanic needs to describe the problem in language you can understand.
The right mechanic will take time to explain to you what the problem is so that you feel confident in their abilities to fix it. Plus, knowing what’s going on means that you can get comparative quotes!
Once you choose a mechanic they should encourage you to get regular services for your car’s long-term health. Here’s our car servicing checklist to help you deal with these quickly and easily.
2. “What’s the process for getting work done?
It makes sense to choose a mechanic with good attention to detail. They need to have admin systems that enable them to tell you how things like:
- How to get your car booked in
- When you’ll get a quote or estimate
- How long the work will take
- Whether a loan car will be available at the time (if they offer that service)
- How they’ll inform you when it’s ready
- How to pay
Make sure to ask about the complaints or grievance process too. Then you know whether you have any recourse should there be problems.
At the end of the day, you just want your car to be fixed quickly and painlessly. Choosing a mechanic who seems to have streamlined processes and isn’t bogged down by admin errors will help.
This way, they can focus their energy on the more important task of getting your car working again.
3. “Do you offer a guarantee on your work?”
A good, reliable mechanic should have faith in their work. You also don’t want to get stuck in a position where shoddy workmanship results in you spending a fortune. Choose a mechanic who respects your right as the customer to question their work. Even if it leads to a refund on their part.
Hopefully it won’t come to that, but offering a customer guarantee shows that your mechanic takes pride and has confidence in their work.
4. “Do you offer extended warranties on parts?”
A mechanic worth their salt will use parts from reputable manufacturers. These generally come with warranties and the workshop may extend these if they use it in a job. If your mechanic is using badly made or previously used parts, they’re unlikely to offer a warranty.
Ensure your mechanic is ok with you following up with the parts’ supplier and having your warranty actioned should there be a problem.
5. “Is this an estimate or a quote?”
We’re sure lots of people have had their fingers burned by not asking this! While estimates are useful to give you an idea of the likely cost of a job, they’re not legally binding. Quotes are legally binding once you accept them and usually have a time limit.
Don’t go ahead with work based on an estimate unless you’re prepared to pay extra and have no recourse.
And when you choose a mechanic ask them to advise you of any costs arising outside the quote. Additional fixes often crop up as they explore your car’s needs in the workshop. Advising you of these extra costs should happen before they carry out the work.
6. “How you train and upskill your staff?”
The kind of mechanic you want to work with (assuming he or she isn’t a solo agent) makes sure their staff knows their trade. They empower them to learn it through accredited training and upskilling.
This could be in the form of internal or external courses and qualifications, refresher courses, advanced certificates, or helping their staff to branch into new areas of mechanics.
Research you should do independently to help you choose a mechanic
The onus isn’t just on the mechanic to prove their worth to you! Remember, doing your research ahead of time can lead you to a car doctor you’ll trust for many years.
One of the first things to do is ask for recommendations. Local Facebook groups, friends, family, and car forums and boards are usually a good place to start. Found a couple of mechanics that might work for you? Run searches to check out their review scores, the way they respond to customers online, and whether there’s any recurring comments or complaints that you can see.
Most of us don’t look for a mechanic until something is wrong. It’s better to be proactive and look for a mechanic before you’re in dire need of one. Less pressure means more time to find somebody great!
A PD Insurance authorised repairer could save you thousands
Did you know that PD Insurance offers a Lifetime Repair Guarantee on all PD Insurance authorised repairers? We’ve got your back when it comes to keeping your car running like a dream. Maybe it’s time to make the switch? Get a car insurance quote here.
How to choose a mechanic – over to you
Got a motor mechanic tip or a tale to share? Tell the PD Insurance community on Facebook.