Many people find auto repairs complicated and confusing. As a result, they tend to leave repair decisions in the hands of their car mechanic, cross their fingers and hope that they fix the problem honestly. Sure, there are aspects of auto repairs that you don’t need to concern yourself with. However, taking the time to understand the general repair process can potentially save you from financial and technical complications in the future.
To make sure that your vehicle is taken care of properly, you have to effectively communicate with your mechanic. And to do that, you have to ask the right questions about your vehicle.
To help you get started, here are five questions that it’s always worth asking your mechanic.
- What are my repair options and can you explain each one?
Not everyone is a car expert, so there’s nothing wrong with asking your mechanic to explain in simple terms the different repair options.
It’s important that you know all of the repair options that are available. There’s a high chance that your particular problem has multiple solutions. Some solutions will cost you more than others. However, if you’re not aware of this, your mechanic might route you into taking an unnecessarily expensive repair. Thus, knowing your repair options can help you avoid going over your budget.
Additionally, this extra knowledge will allow you to ask the proper follow up questions once the repairs are complete. It might even help you assess the repairs and see if they’ve properly solved the problem that they set out to fix.
Remember, you should work with an auto repair shop that you know and trust. This will give peace of mind and assure you that your mechanics are acting in your best interest.
- Is this repair essential?
You should also ask if certain repairs are urgent or secondary. Taking your time to research your options and finding a suitable repair shop for a particular issue might save you money in the long run.
If you don’t know which repairs are urgent and which can wait, your mechanic might encourage you to spend money on non-essential repairs. This could mean paying for repairs that you don’t need. It can also mean hastily undertaking a repair job and paying more than you need to and even ending up with a result that is substandard and requires additional work. As a result, It’s important to ask your mechanic if the repairs they’re about to do are absolutely necessary.
- What kind of replacement parts do you use?
Your mechanic should be able to tell you if your vehicle requires new/OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts. An OEM product is a genuine replacement part made by the original vehicle manufacturer. In some cases, your mechanic might recommend a used part instead.
Regardless, make sure you know what kind of replacement parts your mechanic is using. If they are using used parts, make sure they are sourcing high-quality parts from reputable manufacturers or distributors. If they are using used or second hand parts, then you should be seeing some cost savings passed on for the repairs since used parts are considerably cheaper than OEM parts.
On the other hand, if your mechanic recommends using new parts, you can also find out if there are cheaper alternatives. If you’re not careful, a mechanic might make you pay for a brand new replacement part when a used one would have sufficed.
To avoid such complications, it’s important to ask your mechanic if you can see the parts that they’ll be using. It’s also worth asking if they explain the reasons for using specific replacement products.
- What kind of parts/labour warranty do you offer?
Because policies vary depending on the repair shop, it’s good to know your options in terms of warranty. Reputable shops should be able to guarantee the quality of the service that they provide.
Additionally, you would want to know, in detail, which parts of your car were repaired or replaced. For this purpose, it’s good to ask for a detailed invoice that outlines all the repair jobs that were done. In the future, this documentation can be useful when you sell your vehicle in the future. You can show potential buyers all the repairs that were done to your car as proof of it’s working condition.
- Can you give me a maintenance plan
Ask your mechanic for a maintenance schedule and compare it with the manufacturer’s recommendation in the owner’s manual. If the maintenance schedule that you received from your mechanic is significantly different from the manufacturer’s recommendations, it’s best to go with the latter.
Great mechanics will want to help you keep your car in excellent condition, even after your vehicle has left their repair shop.
Since the costs will be entirely on you, you shouldn’t be ashamed of asking seemingly basic questions. To avoid getting forced into expensive, unnecessary repairs, it’s best to gather as much information as you can. By asking the questions above, you should be able figure out if a certain mechanic is trustworthy or otherwise. It will also help you better understand the repair process and allow you prioritise each issue accordingly.