You step into your car, turn the key to start it and then—nothing. It won’t start. It’s that awful sinking feeling that something is wrong with your car. You feel helpless because now you have to rely on someone to tell you what the problem is. How much will it cost? Unless you are linked up with an honest mechanic, you could be taking chances with your hard earned money.
The Waiting Game
Some people have family and friends who know how to fix cars. The problem is calling them and getting them to come and look at the car. Once they tell you what’s wrong, you play the game of chasing down parts, and that entails a lot of phone calls to either an auto parts store or a junkyard and then getting the part back to the person who is actually doing the work. Who needs this hassle?
The “Shade Tree Mechanic”. Try to avoid unlicensed mechanics. Without the proper diagnosing equipment, they’re pretty much just guessing. They fix it well enough to wave you down the road and once you round the corner, the car dies. He will tell you he thought it was one thing, but it turns out to be another. You’re left spending lots of money on parts that you didn’t even need and wasting valuable time.
A Booming Business
Studies show that the UK car repair industry has seen a 16% growth in the previous two years with an additional 2% being the service department of dealerships. No doubt about it, the industry is thriving. People will always need automotive maintenance and repair, but there are ways to save money and not get ripped off in the process.
In the car repair business, unfortunately there are mechanics who overcharge and charge for work that was never done. For example, a friend of mine was charged for a new radiator, when in truth, the old one had just been given a coat of Corroless paint. Ways to avoid this is to ask around. Get estimates from different repair shops. Ask for referrals, what mechanic does your family, coworkers or friends use? The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence recommends consumers check for licensed auto repair shops with ASE certified mechanics. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. How long have they been in business? Check to see if they are they registered with the Better Business Bureau and if so check to see if any complaints have been filed.
A reputable mechanic will have no problem if you ask for your old parts back. Ask to see the work done, if possible. Ask for the mechanic’s name that did the work. Make notes and keep records of all maintenance and repairs. Make sure the advertised price for the work is the price that you were charged. If something doesn’t look right, check into it.
In summary, it’s best to look around for a good shop before you actually need one. Don’t pick just because of convenience and remember that if a misdiagnosis is done, a reputable shop will have no problem resolving the issue.