Dodgy mechanics have soured the industry. Which is why eight out of ten drivers don’t trust the profession. Whilst there are many professional and reliable mechanics, it’s crucial you protect yourself against their less reputable peers. Here are some of their most common tactics and how to deal with them…
Dodgy mechanics all share one thing in common; they want to confuse you. If you’re confused, it’s harder for you to figure out what they’re doing and to stand up for yourself. This is why they’ll often use overly-complicated and technical jargon. If a mechanic or garage refuses to explain things in layman’s terms, it should be regarded as a major red flag. You’re paying for the repairs, so you have a right to know precisely what the issues are and how they’re going to be resolved. If there’s anything you don’t understand, ask for the full explanation and in simple terms.
If a part in your car needed replacing, how would you know that the job’s been done after a visit to the garage? Well, you wouldn’t. Not unless you regularly disassemble your motor and familiarise yourself with all of its components. Dodgy mechanics understand this. As a result, they’ll sometimes charge you for non-existent replacements. It’s a win-win for them, as they’re making money and not using any of their own material. There’s a simple way around this. Ask for photos of the parts that need replacing (illustrating the damage) and instruct the garage to leave your old parts in the boot.
You should be looking after your car’s tyres. That means ensuring they have the right pressure levels and an appropriate amount of tread depth. Nevertheless, dodgy mechanics will still look to profit on your tyres even if they’re in a good condition; suggesting they need to be replaced. Many flat tyres can be repaired and thoroughly, especially if the damage isn’t to the sidewall. Always ask if it can be repaired and for proof of the damage.
Most garages don’t make much money carrying out MOTs. The profits lie with the errors and faults they uncover. The problem with this system is that it’s exceptionally easy for dodgy mechanics to exploit. They can literally invent faults and problems and then charge for them to be fixed; some are even encouraged to do so by the garages themselves. For the MOT, faults are divided between ‘failures’ and ‘advisories.’ The latter don’t render your car illegal to drive, so you can shop around to have these repaired in your own time; and at a price you’re comfortable with.
A professional mechanic, who works for a reputable garage, will never spring hidden costs on you. Instead, they’ll present you with a reliable quote before the work is completed. If anything is uncovered later on, they’ll notify you before they respond; so that you remain in charge of the costs. It’s that control that so important throughout the entire process. Less reputable mechanics will throw costs and fees around at their discretion. Make it clear that you won’t tolerate this from the start of the process.
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