Dealing with a car mechanic may be more frightening than the car breaking down. Ninety-percent of auto mechanics are male, and some of them assume a woman will not know much about cars. Don’t get me wrong. You’ll find a lot of good, honest mechanics, but there are also some who treat women differently. You need to be prepared because, at some point, your car will need maintenance or repairs.
Take Care of Your Car
You can keep your car out of the shop by taking good care of it. Change the oil on schedule and check your tires regularly. Have your car serviced as recommended by the manufacturer. Routine maintenance can prevent many costly repairs.
Mechanics are small business owners and their best advertising is often word of mouth. When your car needs repairs, ask your friends and family who they recommend.
Check the Better Business Bureau
You may be new in town and not know a lot of people. It’s best to research a business with the Better Business Bureau to see if the mechanic belongs to the local chamber of commerce. You can also check online reviews or your local chamber of commerce. A Google search may turn up reviews of the business. One negative review may be a disgruntled customer but a string of negative reviews indicates you should look elsewhere.
Get Estimates in Writing
Most auto mechanics will give you an estimate before beginning work. Make sure he or she agrees that you are only paying for the work on the estimate. Any additions will require your written approval.
Get a Second Opinion
Car repairs can be expensive, costing into the thousands of dollars for some work. Don’t just accept a high estimate. If your car can be driven, take it to another mechanic for a second opinion and maybe get a third opinion. Even if your car is not drivable, another mechanic may be willing to go and look at the car wherever it is. The worst-case scenario is you will save some money. You could also get another diagnosis that will be a lot cheaper.
Get a Guarantee
Some parts are guaranteed for a year up to a lifetime. Ask your mechanic if he or she offers a guarantee on their work as well.
Take Someone With You
I am not necessarily saying you need to take a man with you. Just take someone else who will be a witness to the agreement between you and the mechanic. Your friend or family member can also share their thoughts about the mechanic and if they feel you are being scammed.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
You may begin to feel uncomfortable if the mechanic continues to claim he or she is finding problems with your vehicle and needs to do more costly repairs. Or something my just not sound right to you. Don’t be afraid to take your car somewhere else if you think something is not right.
What has been your experience with car repairs? Leave your comments below.