Research Your Potential Mechanic
Don’t take potluck when it comes to selecting your mechanic.
- Make a list of mechanics in your area that are convenient to you, including mobile mechanics.
- Call each one and ask them the following questions in your own words.
- If you are nervous about asking the mechanic, don’t be. Just because you are not a car expert does not mean you can’t ask some basic questions. If the mechanic treats your questions with some attitude and does not take the time to explain their answers to you, cross them off the list.
- When making your list you should begin with online reviews. When looking at these, if the reviews are all 5 star, then 9 times out of 10 they are filtering the responses. It is impossible to keep everyone happy no matter how good your service is. Repairing cars and replacing tyres, batteries etc are a grudge purchase and not many people get excited about paying for servicing and repairs. We all hope that a car will just keep running and all will be ok, or a minor service will keep the car going. Unfortunately, cars are becoming more complex and must be maintained or they will breakdown and cost more in the long run.
Mechanics with mixed reviews with the majority being 4-5 star are a better reflection or real life. Any poor reviews should have a feasible response from the mechanic as there are always two sides to every story.
- When your mechanics are finally short listed, give them a call and ask how many years have they been in business?
- What vehicles do they specialise in i.e. Japanese, European, commercial, trucks etc.
- Other services , air-conditioning, auto Electrical, transmissions.
- Do they offer a mobile Mechanical Service.
- Do they guarantee their work? What sort of warranties do they offer?
- Are all the mechanics qualified in their various States or Territories? What type of training do their mechanics have?
- What types of parts do they use: new, used, Original Equipment from manufacturers i.e. genuine Hold, Ford, Toyota etc. or aftermarket parts? Just to explain these categories
- New – new parts from either original equipment suppliers (manufacturers) or aftermarket suppliers.
- Used – Means they are taken from used cars and are normally tested to meet manufactures standards and reused.
- Original Equipment – Means they are supplied by a manufacturer i.e. Holden, Ford, Toyota and others. These are generally more expensive.
Aftermarket – These are supplied generally by major parts suppliers and reputable manufacturers (usually the same as the original equipment suppliers, just rebranded). Most reputable suppliers like Auto Barn, Burson, Repco or Supercheap Auto parts are all warranted and meet the highest standards.
- Are estimates free? Are there certain types of inspections that you’ll have to pay for?
- Do they offer loaner cars or a free shuttle while your car is in the shop?
- What are their payment policies?
- Are they a Mobile Mechanic?
Dip Your Toe in the Water
Don’t wait till your car breaks down or requires a major service or repair.
Try minor work first, like tyre rotations, minor service, battery replacement, wheel alignment.
Whilst you are there, have a good look around and see if the shop or mobile mechanical van is clean and tidy. I have been to many shops that are disorganised, dirty, cluttered with boxes of parts and cars scattered everywhere.
Fresh magazines, a tidy comfortable place to sit, clean toilets and the ability to make a cup tea are all conveniences expected of a modern organised mechanical and tyre shop today.
However, if you use a mobile mechanic and you can’t make yourself a cup of tea or get a comfortable chair and clean toilets that is a problem, because you are at home
Most people are wary of being ripped off by mechanics and many people skip service intervals to avoid dealing with the mechanic. Of course not all mechanics are like this, so taking the time to ask as many questions as you can to convince yourself the mechanic seems to be a nice person as well as experienced is important.
Be mindful of mechanics that look at your car and come out with a long list of urgent repairs that must be done quickly costing thousands of dollars$$$$
Good mechanics that see you as a long-term customer and a long-term relationship, will set out a schedule of repairs from urgent to required at next service level, all itemised and priced. This allows you to tuck away some money weekly and work down the list.
Most up to date mechanical stores and mobile mechanics offer payment options like interest free, Afterpay, credit cards etc to make those must do repairs a little easier to manage.
Part of the fear of taking your car to a mechanic or a mobile mechanic is “bill shock”. A huge bill that is dumped on you without discussion or an estimate is a concern for most people. Always ask for an estimate and be clear that no work is to be started with out your consent. Good mechanics whether they are mobile mechanics or a mechanical workshop should do this without being asked. Check that this is standard practice with the mechanic you are looking at.
Be aware of overly cheap quotes or advertising. You get what you pay for OR you will get more than you bargained for in terms of the cost. We constantly get calls from people who tell us their car is on a hoist and the mechanic says that it needs numerous repairs that require urgent attention, “ what do we do or does that sound correct”? Whilst this can happen most of the time when we suggest photos be sent to us, things suddenly become less urgent. Don’t be bullied into repairs and you are entitled to a second opinion. Remember what we said earlier, mechanics that try for the big dollar kill first up, don’t have your long-term future in mind. A schedule of repairs should be provided to work in with what is most urgent and works in with your budget.
Passionate and experienced mechanics are what you are looking for. They are the guys that look at your car with bedroom eyes, stroke the front guards, and instantly give your car a gender which is normally female. Yes they are car GEEKS! And love their job. These guys and girls are challenged by problems and will take the time to work through difficult problems and look after your car. Find a mechanic that understands and cares for you and you vehicle.
Modern organised booking systems are a must when choosing a mechanic. If your mechanic tells you to simply drop it off or just turn up, could mean that he has your keys and your car and you are number 10 job on the list. This could mean you are without a car for the day or three days. This is just not acceptable with today’s business lifestyle and the demands of family life.
Find a mechanic that gives you a time to arrive and an estimated time for pick up. Any changes in these times are followed with a phone call, text and explanation or update.
You are entitled to know that all work conducted by either a mobile mechanic or workshop are covered by at least a 12 month warranty on parts and labour. Don’t assume, check and get it in writing which should be on the invoice.
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.
In today’s day and age technology is important, From sending you text and email reminders about your service, emailing invoices and sending your important updates, specials and recall information is all part of the modern mechanical service.
These type of added services are fundamental when deciding on a mechanical company to look after your vehicles or fleet.