Things Your Mechanic Won’t Tell You

October 19, 2012

Mechanics are like doctors for your vehicle. They know the ins and outs of how your car works, and would tell you if a part needs replacement or if fluids need to be changed. Unfortunately, they won’t tell you everything. Here are a few of the things some mechanics might not tell you outright.

You can ask to see your car’s problem

Did you know that you don’t have to take the mechanic’s word for anything? You can actually ask to see what’s wrong with your car. So if you think the part in question seems to be working properly, you don’t really need to get it fixed or replaced. In fact, you should probably get a second opinion.

The replacement part could just be the old one

Unfortunately, people sometimes get charged for repairs that haven’t been done. It could’ve been intentional, but also could’ve been a mistake. To prevent this, ask for the old parts. If you find out that the part shouldn’t have been replaced because it’s still working properly, talk to the mechanic for an explanation. If you’re not satisfied, contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

You can replace air filters and wiper blades yourself

Two replacements commonly suggested by mechanics are dirty air filters and worn wiper blades. Take note, however, that wiper blades should be replaced once a year, while air filters are good for 20,000 miles. If they really do need replacement, you can do them yourself.

They sometimes make unnecessary repairs

Have you ever had your car repaired and found out that the mechanic did additional work that you didn’t ask for? This issue usually happens not because of some underhanded way to run up the bill, but because cars have become so sophisticated that mechanics and repair shops try several ways to fix the car before they actually get it right. The problem here is the mechanic didn’t tell you that…

Your car is too complicated for them

Thanks to electronic and computerised parts, cars today have become increasingly hi-tech and difficult to repair. Sometimes, the only way to diagnose problems for such parts is to be factory-trained and actually own state-of-the-art analytic equipment, but not all mechanics and repair shops are able to afford this. If you own a high-end foreign car, try to look for repair shops that specialise in your car make. Otherwise, more common models can be repaired by independent shops.

Fluid flushes are sometimes ways to rack up your bill

Beware of fluid flushes, particularly those not in your car’s manual. These are sometimes used by dishonest mechanics to rack up your bill. Are transmission-fluid or brake-fluid flushes unnecessary? Not at all; actually, they can be helpful in some cars. However, these services are sometimes recommended even if your vehicle doesn’t really need one. Here’s how you deal with this: follow your car’s manual. If you doubt the recommendation, get a second opinion.

You can get a second opinion

If your car needs major fixing, you should always opt for a second opinion to get the best deal. Take note that there might be unscrupulous mechanics that would try to stop you by saying they’ve already taken the components apart. If this happens, insist that they put it back together and just pay for the labour. You may have to spend, but you can make up for it by searching for a good, honest mechanic.

Work on your car might be outsourced

Since cars are becoming more sophisticated, the mechanic might subcontract work on your car to other shops, and this can make your bill considerably more expensive. To prevent this, ask if they will be doing all the repairs in the shop before deciding to have anything done there. If the mechanic says he’ll outsource the work, instruct him to not subcontract and just work on what he can repair. After this, you’ll have to bring the car to a mechanic that would carry out the rest of the work.