Saturday 18 May 2024

Beware of the wolf: how much should you trust your mechanic?

Car ownership comes with a cost. Keeping your vehicle in good working order means you either have to have great mechanical knowledge or you need to know a damn fine mechanic. The problem is, how do we know we can trust someone to repair the problems and not tell us various porkies to extract more money from our pockets.

You may think you are safe heading to a large franchise. Companies which we are familiar with all over the country however sometimes these guys can be the very worst. Let’s say you head to a well known tyre company to upgrade your rubber, you are offered a tracking test for free and then told you needed a few adjustments so charged for the service. You drive home with a little less cash in your pocket but the knowledge your car is safe. Thing is, was it ever not safe to begin with?

The media have unearthed various stories of well known franchises telling a few fibs to extract more of your hard earned cash, so before you part with any money, ask to see evidence of the problem. Either a broken part or a report such as the ones they take when testing your tracking. Never take someone’s word for it. Your car cash pool is not there to be dipped into unless you need it! You have a right to see anything removed from your car and if you aren’t happy with the situation then you can demand your money back. The problem with large independent or franchise companies is they tend to be more about money than passion. A lot of staff are trained technicians they are not passionate mechanics and whilst they may talk to you like they have a ton of knowledge, chances are they don’t. They are pretty good salesmen though!

Main dealers aren’t exactly much better either. Granted they do know the best ways of keeping their marque in tip top condition however taking their advice isn’t always best. A mechanic in a main dealer will look at your brakes and suggest you need a new set, when in reality you have thousands of miles of wear left in them. What they won’t take into consideration is how you use your car. If you are only covering 4000 miles in a whole year, do you really need to be on top of your brakes today if they have 6000 miles of wear left. The answer is no. You don’t. So don’t be scared into thinking you could lose your brakes at any given moment. You won’t!

The very best option is to find a specialist mechanic who is working solo. Someone who is passionate about what they do. You will find they offer more help and care than bigger companies and have an interest in what they are doing, not the cash at the end of it. Stay local and get to know them. Not only will they work with you but they will raise concerns and give you the options without upping the ante to increase their profit.

** This is a collaborative post

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