Dealing with Automotive Mechanics

Maybe you have a new car and it needs to be checked by the mechanic. Now this is your wonderful machine and you need to hand it over to someone you believe will do the right thing with it. Well there are times this person can do certain things to make you pay a lot than you should have. In this case you need to know the tactics used and what you should do.


  1. Watch out for scare tactics.

Admonitions like ‘I wouldn’t drive this another mile’ should be viewed with suspicion.

  1. Check for…

ASE 9National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence0 or AAA (America Automobile Association) certification, as well as a state license. Reputable shops are proud to display them.

  1. Ask, ask, ask

…for recommendations, years in business, warranties offered, licenses, and the type of equipment used. Look for a clean garage. A floor cluttered with empty oil cans, worn tires, and dirty rags is a red flag.

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At times the mechanic simply observes how you treat them and they will treat likewise. This means that you should approach them in a certain way so that things go in your favor. Tell the things that you have observed with your car and let them come up with the diagnosis.

The Approach

First step: when you tell them what sort of problem you’re having with your car, be sure to describe symptoms, not diseases.

The Estimate

Labor is one factor that makes up the estimate. Although labor is often negotiable, mechanics rely on three major labor tables (now computerized) to estimate how long a repair job will take.

Amazingly, the number of hours for the same job can vary drastically from table to table. Bill B. of Maryland learned this the hard way when his Cadillac blew a water pump. Since he was on a Christmas road trip, he made a beeline for the first shop he saw and agreed to pay the book rate for labor. It was a simple job, so he was shocked when the shop charged him for three and a half hours. Other shops later quoted him anywhere from one hour to four hours! Turns out, each shop was using a different labor table.

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There are times when mechanics lie. Yes and they will do it without feeling shame. This does nt leave you helpless because if you can tell they are lying , you can dance according to their tune knowing very well that you will not be the victim of a lie.

Get a detailed estimate, sign it, and take a copy with you.

If the mechanic tells you that something is about to give out, ask for details. “Find out if it’s leaking, losing pressure or what the specific problem is. Then ask to see the part. A good mechanic should be able to physically show you the problem with the part on your car or explain it to you by using a removed car part.”

The “omg your car is in such bad shape that you shouldn’t drive it until I fix it” line is almost always a scam. If you could drive the car to the mechanic’s without issues, the odds good that you can drive away in the car, too.

Speaking of driving away—get a second opinion if the quote sounds expensive and your car seems to be fine.

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