Are you afraid to take your car into the shop? Worried about what the mechanic will find? Take a deep breath. It’s time to face your mechanic because car maintenance and repairs are essential to keep your car in good working order and you stay on the road. Now is the time to put that fear aside, talk to your mechanic and ask questions about the scope of work your car needs:
- How much will this cost? Ask for a quote for major car repairs. If you have a limit of what you can spend on repairs for your car, let the mechanic or service clerk know to contact you if they find any other issues when making repairs.
- As long as I am in, can you check…? Don’t be afraid to bring an issue to the mechanic’s attention. If you have your car in for an oil change, it’s better to ask about a thump or clunk now. If the mechanic finds a problem, don’t expect repairs to be made immediately. Remember mechanics have appointments and schedules to keep. If you bring a potential issue to their attention, and the mechanic finds a problem, make another appointment to get it fixed.
- Is there a warranty on the parts and work? You’re not insulting a mechanic by asking about a warranty. You need to know your rights when you get a lemon battery that doesn’t work correctly a year after purchase, or when another part fails. Be aware, though, that the failure is not always clear-cut, and can be caused by another part that needs replacement or by an unrelated repair.
- How long does the repair work take? Mechanics have appointment schedules to meet, and so do you. You’re not being rude by asking how long you need to sit and wait, or whether you need to make alternate arrangements for transportation while your car is in the shop.
- Does this work need to be done now? Some repairs can be made in another appointment, such as when your brakes or tires are starting to wear. However, if your brake pads are squealing, you’re hearing a warning noise the manufacturer installed to let you know that brake replacement is needed as soon as possible. If your mechanic does tell you that you can wait, don’t wait too long to bring your car in. You don’t want to get in an accident or go in the ditch because you didn’t get the work done.
If your mechanic is at a new shop that you haven’t visited, ask about ASE-certification and payment options. ASE certification is a sign of quality work, and is awarded to mechanics who pass ASE tests. If you’re on a budget, ask the shop before you take in your car about payment options and plans in case your car needs more work than you can afford. Once these basic questions are answered, it’s time to put the fear aside and schedule an appointment to get your car maintenance up-to-date and find out if any more work needs to be done.