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4 Questions to Ask Your Mechanic Before Agreeing to Diagnosed Repairs


The two things people seem to hate the most: going to the dentist and going to a mechanic. But the latter doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth; you can smoothen the process simply by knowing what the right questions are to ask a mechanic. By asking the right questions ahead of time you ensure that you walk away from the transaction feeling like it was conducted fairly and with your best interests in mind.

1) What’s the exact nature of the car problem(s)?
Most of us aren’t car experts, which is why we visit mechanics in the first place. It’s important for you to get a fuller understanding of which component is failing and why. Is it a fortuitous mechanical breakdown or are you in some way responsible for its failure? Getting clarity may help you prevent/avoid problems in the future. Additionally, asking the mechanic to show you exactly what’s wrong with your car helps build trust so you know they’re not out to scam you, but rather actually help resolve the part defect.

2) What is the priority/necessity of these repairs?
Upselling is an age-old sales technique where the seller attempts to persuade the customer to upgrade to a more expensive item or add-on to an existing purchase. Watch out for mechanics that try to upsell unnecessary parts and/or services as part of the primary repair job you initially went in for. Have them prioritize work so you can separate what’s necessary and what may simply qualify as an afterthought.

3) Can you provide a written estimate of costs?
Make sure the mechanic gives you a breakdown of costs in written form that’s also signed by the shop itself. This will help you understand exactly what you’re paying for and provide you with a document backing up which repairs you agreed to should an issue concerning additional costs arise.

4) What’s the timeline for repair completion? Do you anticipate any potential delay from the schedule?
Get clarity on when you can expect to come to pick up your car from the repair shop. Also make sure that if they do expect that some sort of delay may pop up, they call you to inform you of the change. You should also state that you require verbal/written approval if they wish to perform any action on your car outside the written scope of work.

Ask follow-up questions to draw out specificity until you feel this is a mechanic you can absolutely entrust with repairing your car.

While finding the right mechanic is important, it’s also essential to make sure that should an unexpected breakdown occur, you’ll be able to afford it. You can have peace of mind knowing that your repair coverage can foot the bill.

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