Eighty per cent of Australians are wary of being ripped off by a mechanic! It is for this reason that many people choose to delay (or even skip) a service leading to around 50% of cars not being serviced on time.
The thing is, not all mechanics are bad. In fact, many (especially in Australia) are great at what they do. It’s all about knowing how to find a good mechanic. So below is a list that will help you do just that…
- Read reviews
It may seem obvious, but ask around for referrals and check online reviews on sites like True Local and Google. What you’re looking for more than anything is that there aren’t consistent bad reviews. Everyone gets a negative review from the odd loony, but a whole page of them is a big red flag.
- Are they offering money saving solutions?
Be wary of the mechanic who pushes you to do absolutely everything possible at once. A good mechanic will provide you with money-saving solutions. Things like giving you the heads up that your brake pads are getting low and whether they can wait another 3 months or not. It’s all about finding someone who will spend the time to communicate what’s urgent versus what can wait.
- Get a price estimate
No one likes an unexpectedly pricey bill dumped on their lap. A good mechanic should give you a price estimate up front and if something comes up once they get under your bonnet, they will give you a call for your A-OK before proceeding.
- Don’t go for the cheapest
Since we’re on the subject of money, let’s talk about price. Be wary of the overly cheap mechanic! Anyone offering a $120 service is not making their wage so they’ll make their dosh by upselling you on things you don’t need or doing a quick and nasty job (which, believe me, will cost you in the long run). A good benchmark for a fair market value is $180 for a basic service on a standard (non European) car.
- Passion is important
The best mechanics have cars in their DNA… in fact, they have everything to do with an engine in their DNA! You’ll be able to distinguish a passionate mechanic by their enthusiasm and excitement. This is the mechanic you want. Not only will they do a better job fixing your car, they’ll take the time and effort to get to the bottom of tricky problems and prove much more pleasant to deal with than someone who hates their job.
- Good Mechanics take bookings
It’s amazing that many mechanics will still tell you to just ‘turn up’. If this is the case, they’re probably disorganised and more likely to leave you waiting around. Find a mechanic who can book you into a specific date and time, it shows they respect your time… and their own.
- Request a warranty
Request a 12-month warranty on all labour and parts, a good mechanic will be willing to back their quality.
- Good mechanics communicate
At the end of the day you want someone you can talk to, build a relationship with and trust. A good mechanic will take the time to understand any issues you’re having with your car. They should never make you feel as though you’re wasting their time, become frustrated or agitated when talking to you.
- Itemised invoicing
A good mechanic will break down your invoice, itemising each part and the number of labour hours spent in an easy-to-understand way. If you receive an invoice with a bundled price and very vague explanations, it’s likely they’re trying to hide something.
- Look for professionalism
A good way to tell if your mechanic is running a professional business is by whether they have girly posters (you know the ones I mean) plastered all over the walls. However, it’s also simple things like returning calls, a clean environment and common courtesy that show that your mechanic respects you as a customer. It’s amazing how much this improves not only your experience but the mechanic’s ability to do a great job.
- Investing in technology
Let’s be clear on this, paper diaries and job cards are old news. Good mechanics have electronic systems that track their work. This means they have a record of what your car has had done and what it will need on your next visit. They’ll also have scan tools and other electronic diagnostic equipment, which ensures they can properly diagnose and fix faults. Without these tools you’re more likely to be over-serviced, experience recurring faults or misdiagnosed problems. A good mechanic needs to be up with technology.
Overall, mechanics come in all shapes and sizes. A good mechanic however, the right mechanic, will offer the professionalism of any other business out there. Ultimately they will be interested in developing a long term relationship with you, applying their skills, experience and (importantly) passion to your car.
The Carousel thanks Janelle Gonzalez from Blue Toro Blog for this article.