Finding a good mechanic you can trust can sometimes feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. We have compiled a list of questions you should ask mechanics when you need a repair. These questions will help you build a trusting relationship with the person who is fixing your car, so you know that your vehicle is in good hands.
What parts will be used on the car?
The parts used for a repair will have an impact on the final price you pay. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts will be more expensive, while aftermarket parts and refurbished or used parts will be cheaper.
Can I see the replaced parts?
There is a simple reason for this question: seeing the part which has been replaced gives you additional visual confirmation and confidence that the work has been completed. It also helps you understand your car better and, in some cases, how your car is impacted by your driving style.
How long can I drive my vehicle before my issue becomes a real problem?
This question helps you weigh up whether the proposed repair is a high priority problem that needs immediate attention, or whether it can be delayed. It is important to know what the long term impacts are if certain repairs are left unattended. So while a dirty air filter can be put off for a while, worn brake pads most likely cannot. This question is key if you are on a budget and/or if there are multiple issues with your car.
How was the test drive?
If the repair involves a test drive ask about it. Was the clutch working better? How did the steering improve? Did the vibrations disappear? Don’t forget to enquire about the test route: if a concerning noise occurs mainly on cobbled streets, then a test drive on smooth asphalt won’t tell you if the issue has been rectified.
Can you show me the issue on the car?
Let’s be honest: you wouldn’t let a doctor perform surgery on you without seeing an x-ray or MRI first. The same goes for your car! Ask the mechanic to show you the problem on the vehicle itself before repair. A good mechanic will show and explain the problem in detail to you, including what is needed to get it fixed.
How long does the work take, and when will it be completed?
Agreeing on a time frame helps you plan the time you won’t be able to use your car and to arrange alternative transportation if necessary. As for the mechanic, he now knows when you ideally expect to have your car back and will set a deadline to work towards.
What warranty/guarantee comes with the repair?
Before you hand over the keys to your car, it is vital that you know whether parts and services are covered by the warranty and how long the coverage lasts. Understand your rights when things go wrong – although hopefully, they won’t!
How much will a diagnosis cost & how long does it take?
Over the years, cars have turned into rolling computers, which means some issues are not as easily detectable as others and mechanics will need to run diagnostic checks to track down what is wrong with your car. These checks take time and mechanics understandably will want to get paid for that time, i.e. when they try to find the short in multiple pounds of electrical wiring.
Can I get a written quote and a detailed invoice?
Before you engage a mechanic, ask for a detailed quote outlining the parts, labour time and taxes where they apply. That way you can be sure that there are no hidden fees or expensive extras. It can happen that your mechanic’s work will expand beyond what was agreed first – in these cases ask to get a call to discuss before the work can go ahead.
What repairs do I have coming up?
While a mechanic may only be working on a specific repair, they might detect other defects or worn parts that might cause problems in the future. Knowing what to expect will give you guidance as to what potential costs could be coming up, or may raise the question as to whether investing in a new car would be a more savvy option.