If you’re not a professional it’s easy to be intimidated by a confusing diagnosis when you go to your local garage with a vehicle problem. Even if you have plenty of background knowledge, you will need a mechanic with a full garage to help you with things from time to time, but you can’t necessarily rely on what they say. After all, they don’t want to tell you how to fix a simple problem when they can over-complicate the issue and charge a good price for it.
This may be a cynical view but there are plenty of warning signs to look out for if you want to avoid it happening to you! Here are some of our top things to watch out for which may indicate your car mechanic isn’t being entirely honest.
1) Over-dramatic scare tactics
Trying to make you fear for your life even driving your car back home is basically a way of saying you can’t leave until you pay to have some repairs done. An overly pessimistic view is not uncommon and you should make sure you understand why your car is apparently unsafe before agreeing to any work.
2) Lack of qualifications
You need to check the mechanic has the appropriate certifications and license to be doing this kind of work on your vehicle. If the garage has the right accreditations it will be proud to display them, so if anything is missing be very wary. Also chase up any references and take recommendations to avoid problems.
3) Unspecific agreements
Never sign a form that isn’t completely filled in. Sometimes garages will avoid being clear about what you’re agreeing to, and will charge you more than you expected for less work. The only way you can avoid this is by getting formal agreements in writing.
4) Outdated technology
Engine analysers and scanning tools are great for diagnosing problems, and there are some great gadgets on the market that make repair work quicker and easier. If your garage refuses to use them, they’re likely to waste your time and money.
5) Sub-standard materials
Make sure if you need to have anything replaced on your vehicle that the original materials (or equivalent quality ones) are used. Brakes and tyres can often be replaced suspiciously cheaply because they’re low quality and will wear out quickly. Ask to see the box for your replacement part so you can check it’s the same brand.
6) Work that isn’t really work
Sometimes the job you’re being billed for is so minor it doesn’t justify its cost at all. For example, if you have to remove one part to access another, this doesn’t constitute any kind of check-up or repair service worth paying for. Another thing to look out for with particularly shameless mechanics is having your parts “replaced” when they were fine to begin with and they actually haven’t changed. Ask for your old parts back so you can verify they have indeed been replaced and check the condition they were in.