Before working with an auto mechanic, you need to know that you can trust them. You should also understand the work they’re about to do, at least to some degree. That’s why it’s important to ask questions of your auto mechanic before you begin work.
But what questions should you be asking and what can the information tell you?
Finding the Best Auto Mechanic
Finding a reliable auto mechanic can be daunting, but it’s critically important if you want to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition – or return it to the roads in excellent condition if it’s been involved in an accident. With a better, more experienced auto mechanic doing your work for you, you should be able to save money, improve the condition and performance of your vehicle, and rest easier knowing they’re doing good work for you.
Most auto mechanics are honest, so only a tiny minority would willingly take advantage of you by lying about damage to your car or overcharging you for services. However, not all mechanics are experienced or efficient, and even among competent, experienced mechanics, two different mechanics may charge you very differently for the same work.
There are some early indicators that can suggest whether an auto mechanic is trustworthy and reliable. For example, if you know the auto repair business has been active for many years, or even decades, you can feel confident they’re doing something right. The same is true if they’re always busy with a steady stream of repeat customers. You can also look to online reviews to figure out whether a specific auto mechanic is worth using. However, even with these steps, it’s important to ask some questions before moving forward with a mechanic.
Questions You Should Always Ask Your Auto Mechanic
These are some of the most important questions you should ask your auto mechanic.
- Do you have a professional license? In some states, auto mechanics are required to have professional licenses. While you may be able to score a good deal from someone who doesn’t have a license to operate, there’s no guarantee you’ll get good work done this way – and there may be no repercussions if they fumble the job.
- How much experience do you have? Regardless of whether this mechanic has professional licensure, you should investigate to determine how much experience this auto mechanic has. How long has this repair shop been in business? Who’s in charge and how much experience have they had? How many mechanics are typically working and how many years of experience do they have individually and combined? You don’t need specific details on every individual who works there, but you should feel confident that this institution and most of the team have worked on plenty of vehicles in the past.
- How do you operate? Get to know the processes and policies of a mechanic before you use them. Do they require appointments or do they accept walk-ins? How firm are their estimates? Are there any specific policies or rules of operation that could cost you more in fees or inconvenience you?
- What’s the best information I can provide? When taking your car in to investigate a potential issue, you’ll need to communicate what’s wrong with your car to the people interested in repairing it. Generic, vague, and unclear descriptions can add to the confusion, making it more difficult for your mechanics to serve you well. Be proactive and ask about the best information you could provide for this scenario. Try to be as detailed, accurate, and thorough as possible. Photos and videos of what you’re experiencing typically help.
- How much will this cost? Always ask how much the repairs are going to cost before committing to doing them. If possible, get a written estimate. This way, you’ll have all the numbers and details in front of you, and you can use it to get quotes from other auto mechanics. After a few quick calls and conversations, you can discover whether this estimate is fair and make a final decision about who you want to work with.
- What are the biggest priorities? If the mechanic finds several things wrong with your vehicle, you may not have the money or time to deal with all of them right now. If this is the case, ask your mechanic what the biggest priorities are; which problems are genuine safety issues and which ones can afford to wait a few weeks?
- How much time will you need? Good mechanics are often booked well in advance, juggling multiple priorities. And depending on the complexity of your repair, they may need to order parts. Get a time estimate in advance if you can. Figure out how long it’s going to take for this person to complete your repairs and make any adjustments you need from there. In some cases, you may be comfortable paying more for a repair if it means getting the job done faster.
Once you have answers to these questions, you should feel much more confident about working with this auto mechanic – or resolute in your decision to find someone else. If you’re willing to have these conversations, and do your due diligence before committing to any car repairs, you should be able to save money and leave with better results.