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Ten Questions to Ask Your Mechanic

Car repairs are often a major source of anguish for many Australians with the cost of auto repairs easily crossing into the thousands of dollars for parts and labour. Choosing the right mechanic can be one of the most important decisions a person can make regarding their vehicle with a mechanic needing to be reliable and honest. The auto mechanic industry has a notorious reputation due to the unknown aspect for many car owners. Put simply, most people have no idea what their mechanic is referring too and just see the high dollar figure attached at the end.

Below are ten questions that every person should ask their mechanic to ensure that you are receiving the very best service and price for your vehicle repair needs.

1. Check Accreditation or Credentials of Technicians

The majority of mechanics or auto repair shops will have their accreditation displayed in the lobby or around the reception desk. Most reputable mechanics will have their licensing displayed. This may even extend to what kinds of cars certain mechanics specialise in. The majority of mechanics will have a particular type of car that they major in, or a process that they are well versed in such as repairing air conditioners or spark plug issues. That is not to say that a mechanic cannot treat any and all vehicle issues, just that there may be garages that have strengths within the auto repair field.

2. Is There an Inspection Fee?

In most cases, an inspection will be free of charge, but it is still ideal to ask before a mechanic gives your car a once over. This also indicates that you wish to be informed on any and all determinations on what the problem can be.

3.Parts Selection: New or Used?

In car repairs there is often need to replace a part in your car for various reasons. You will need to decide if you want a new part or are happy to for a second-hand part to be installed. Ask your mechanic if they deal in used parts and where they get them from. Many auto repair shops have associations with scrap yards and similar used-parts businesses and using second-hand will save a great deal on the invoice. Of course, the use of new or second-hand should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis with certain parts of machinery best to be replaced with new to prevent constant mechanical issues.

4. Check on Labour Charges

Use the time the mechanics spend on your car to your own advantage and eliminate the need for multiple labour charges. Getting two minor repairs completed at the same time can save a significant amount of money. For example, if you are having your timing belt replaced, then that may be an ideal time to check the water pump as the belts will be removed anyway.

5. Get an Itemised Invoice

You will need to ask for this before any work has commenced but it is a smart move to make sure that you will receive a detailed breakdown of every procedure and replacement. This keeps the mechanics honest as it will they are now having to justify every hour spent and part replaced, while also making it far easier for you to read and understand the invoice at the end of the service.

6. Work is Only Authorised AFTER Gaining Your Written Consent

This means that you will be contacted before any work that is not originally part of your estimate and quote can be completed.

7. Courtesy Car

Courtesy cars are an important point to check as while they may be part of the service in many dealership garages, it is not so common in private mechanics workshops. If there is a courtesy car available, ask if there are ANY costs associated and how long you can have the car for.

8. Check Payment Policies and Guarantees

Often displayed along with their accreditation, payment plans, labour rates and guarantees can vary from mechanic to mechanic so it's always wise to check. What's more, you should check what warranties are associated with parts that are replaced and serviced. Check automotive buying guides to see what is the industry standard.

9. Ask About Your Tyres' Status

When referring to your car's tyres, don't ever ask if you need new tyres but instead ask the mechanic to check and see if they are wearing normally given the current mileage. A quality mechanic should provide you with tread-depth measurements, and similar conditions such as abnormal wear, sidewall damage, and cracks or splits in the rubber.

10. Get Involved

Ask as many questions as you can about your vehicle. This may help build a rapport with the mechanic and also give you greater control over what will happen and what you will be charged.

Having an honest car repair shop can mean the difference in saving hundreds of dollars so it pays to find the right mechanic for you.