A trip to the mechanic can seem like an intimidating experience if you’re not really sure what to expect. If it’s your first time getting vehicle repairs, it can be especially daunting, because you may not be sure they’re going to give you the service you want and need.
There are some steps you can take, however, to ensure that you’ve made the right choice for your repairs. Here are five questions to ask your mechanic before you bring your car in for service.
Do You Service My Vehicle Make and Model?
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that the mechanic has experience servicing your particular make and model. There’s no point in wasting your time if they can’t service your car. If the answer is yes, then you can check out customer reviews and gain an understanding around how much the repair should cost. According to Tom Brown, service manager at Sellers Buick GMC, a good first step is to look at ratings and reviews on Yelp. Once you’ve found a few candidates, Brown says, ask them how long it will take and what the repairs entail. It’s best to find out if they have your part in stock before you bring in your vehicle so you can plan ahead.
Are You Certified?
Find out if the technicians are certified with the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) seal. The ASE certification means that technicians employed by the business are trained and tested professionals. To gain certification, technicians must pass the test as well as have a minimum of two years on-the-job training or one year on-the-job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair.
Knowing that your mechanic has ASE certification can help bring you peace of mind that they have the training and knowledge necessary to do thorough and reliable vehicle servicing.
Will I Be Charged for Diagnostic Work?
Before you leave your car with the mechanic, find out if you’ll be charged a fee when they diagnose what’s wrong with the vehicle. While some places will offer deals for free inspection and diagnosis, it’s not uncommon to be charged a fee for the technician’s time. Be sure to get an estimate of that time and the associated costs upfront.
Do You Provide a Warranty on Parts and Labor?
Ask your mechanic if they offer a warranty on parts, labor or both. As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) points out, there are many manufacturers that do offer a warranty with replacement parts, but you may not find coverage for the labor. Make sure you get everything in writing. It’s important to get a true sense of what you’ll be responsible for in the future.
Will I Receive an Explanation of Completed Work?
Be sure to receive a detailed, line-by-line explanation of work once everything’s all said and done. The FTC also points out that it’s important to have the following listed out:
- Each repair
- Parts supplied
- Cost of each part
- Labor charges
- Odometer reading upon arrival
When your repairs are finished, be sure to ask for all the replaced parts. In some states, this is a state law requirement, but it never hurts to ask.
Remember to look for your local Certified Service dealership to make your choice when you’re looking for a reliable source for auto repairs.