Every year millions of car owners choose independent garages over more expensive dealerships. It’s a win-win for a lot of people, they save money, probably don’t have to travel as far and support local businesses. Sadly for others there are always mechanics who will take advantage of people who don’t know a lot about cars (which is most of the population right?) They might charge more, charge unnecessarily for work that perhaps doesn’t need doing.
Going independent is great but how do you know the mechanic your dealing with is honest?
How to spot a dishonest mechanic
There are a few tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with a unscrupulous mechanic, here are a few:
They hype things up – A dishonest mechanic tends to make things sound worse then they really are. They might use dramatic words like the car is going to die, blow up or catch fire etc.. if you don’t do the work they suggest. These types of situations are very rare, if you’re being threatened with this it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion.
They often use wording such as “the whole, full, entire etc..” needs replacing. If this is true, then expect a very clear explanation, itemization of the costs, again it doesn’t hurt to ask for another opinion.
They don’t bother to explain – A dishonest mechanic wants you to think the job is complicated and that only they could understand. They might be very brief in their explanation of the problem, if they provide one at all, or they might use complex technobobble without breaking it down for you.
- It’s your car
- Your paying good money
You totally deserve to know what’s going on, on your terms, in a language you understand. An honest mechanic respects this.
They tell you not to move the car – Suggesting that you should keep the car with them and not take it to another garage can be seen as a threat, though sometimes there is genuine need. It can be seen as an attempt to scare you into keeping the car with them, that way a dishonest mechanic can charge whatever price they want.
If they say you shouldn’t move the car, be very clear on why, if it’s appropriate for you to see the problem, that may help.
They are illusive on the price – Your bill should not come as a complete surprise. A dishonest mechanic might be less likely to give you a detailed quote before the work. They wouldn’t break down the labor and parts cost for you so you can tell what value you are getting.
They use alarmist or persuasive language in any way – Sometimes there is genuine need for alarm but you should never feel pressurised. If the mechanic makes a big point about the situation being dangerous and you needing a repair right now be cautious.
How to spot an honest mechanic
Most mechanics generally are honest but just as it can be difficult to spot a dishonest one, it can sometimes be hard to know if you’re dealing with an honest one.
Here are some signs that you’re probably dealing with an honest mechanic.
They show you why – An honest mechanic doesn’t leave you in the dark about things. They will clearly explain them and may even offer to show you what they are referring to, or would be happy to if you asked.
They are upfront about costs – They will be happy to provide a detailed written estimate for you. This can break down all costs involved – labor, parts, fluids etc.
They are ASE certified etc.. – A mechanic doesn’t have to be certified to prove their honesty, but it helps. Some honest mechanics take the time to commit to certain industry standards set by organizations such as the ASE.
Article written by Fred’s Auto Center – a local car garage with honest, family mechanics. Fred’s enjoys many 5 star ratings from satisfied customers going back a number of years.