Repairs are meant to fix our car problems, and almost always, they do work out. Due to various reasons, however, they may fail to solve the problem and sometimes even worsen the initial condition of your car.
We walk into auto repair shops trusting that the mechanic will have the issue sorted. But when you get a mechanic who’s not that good, a simple repair can turn into a stressful situation. You could use a few tips to avoid this nightmare.
1. Develop an eye for spotting bad repairs
Bad repair jobs can either be those that didn't eliminate the problem or those with no significant repair done to them at all. Of the two, the former is more frequent and easily detected. It happens when you take in your car to the repair shop for a quick fix. Two or three days after the repair, you start noticing the same problem again.
As to the latter, the mechanic might assure you that he has resolved the issue when, in reality, he has not done anything substantial. In either case, your ability to detect a bad repair job will be a handy skill.
In repairs entailing replacement of parts, always ask for the old components, grimy as they might be. By doing so, you get to confirm that faulty components were indeed removed and know which parts were replaced.
When doing an expensive repair, it is advisable to get quotes from different mechanics. You will see right away when a mechanic serves you with an inflated bill. Also, make sure that there is a warranty covering the service required before allowing any repair shop to touch your car.
2. Talk to the mechanic if you are not satisfied with the repairs
If, after a repair job, you are not happy with the work done or the bill, it is advisable to talk it out with the mechanic. Raise your concerns in a reasonable manner.
In a large shop setting, you can voice your complaints to the management. Be calm in raising your issues and dissatisfaction regardless of how frustrating the repair went. Going all-out accusatory will make it more difficult to attain a productive outcome.
If you notice any discrepancies, point them out and cite the result you expected per the job specifics you agreed on. If the repair shop can't get the job done as specified, a refund might be justified.
Note that not all repair shops have a refund policy, so it would be prudent to choose one that offers it.
3. Get a reliable mechanic or ask for recommendations
Any car owner knows how crucial it is to have a list of trusted and go-to auto repair shops. The nearest one to you isn't necessarily the best. Having a regular, reliable mechanic is also as important as having a preferred repair shop. Think of it as having a favourite burger joint – nothing else will make you happier or more satisfied.
If you don’t have a place yet, worry not. You can ask your friends to suggest places from which you can shortlist those that suit you best. Suggestions from your friends may not be enough as they will only serve to narrow down your list. For the remaining half, you will need to do extensive research on your own.
You can test the shops with simple repairs to get a feel of their reliability and customer support services. In time, you will find the top shops you think are worthy of your trust.
While you're at it, check whether the shop is certified. Read reviews of the shops and see if there had been complaints against them previously. More importantly, find out how these issued were resolved.
We understand the idea of starting all over with a new mechanic can put you off. However, it is a necessary action if you don’t want subpar work done on your car. Make sure to go over all the essential details after settling with a new mechanic.
4. Have a “before-you-leave-your-car” checklist
Finding the best repair shop is only half the process. You need to know whether the shop is trusted and their mechanics will deliver. This way, when you leave your car for repairs, you are assured that the shop will stop at nothing to give you the repair job that your car needs.
To help you, here are a few pointers you should keep in mind before leaving your cars for repairs:
- Make sure that the shop offers, in writing, a guarantee policy in case something goes wrong.
- Be aware of the type of car parts the shop uses when making replacements. Original Equipment Manufacturer parts are the best, but they will likely cost you more.
- Before signing any service agreement, get a rough estimate, so you have an idea of what the repair involves.
- The agreement or contract must include a provision that requires the shop to promptly notify you of any extra work that needs to be done on your car.
During the repair period, always keep in touch with the shop. It's a way of keeping them on their toes and letting them know that you're serious about having the job done correctly.
5. Take the hunt online
Before the advent of the internet, finding a professional mechanic or repair shop was a lot harder. Today, you can search and compare them over the internet. You may also inquire and check out the FAQs available on many car repair websites.
If you don’t know where to start, you can jump into your browser and directly google a general search, say ‘car repair.’ Reviews by customers can also help when deciding which shop to settle with. As a note, don’t be quick to discredit a repair shop because of one bad review.
Maximise the internet’s use when looking for car parts or the services of a parts professional. We have an easy-to-use platform for this purpose.
You choose your food joint carefully to get decent meals and avoid food poisoning or overpaying, right? Similarly, your car ought to enjoy the same level of prudence and assurance that repairs to it are done right. Do due diligence and find the repair specialists that your car deserves.