There is no way you can avoid dealing with a mechanic once you own a car. From routine maintenance to urgent repairs, you get to discover that you have to make informed decisions on keeping your car on the road and in good condition. In other words, owning a car without dealing with a mechanic impossible except you have someone taking this responsibility off you.
In some cases, dealing with a mechanic in Nigeria can become a one-sided affair or even intimidating as the mechanic does all the talking; handing down suggestions to you based on discoveries he claims to have made. There are situations where you feel like a pupil being exploited by a bully.
We asked a couple of car experts to highlight some salient questions you can ask your mechanic to prevent a one-sided conversation. These questions are also designed to help you build a relationship with your mechanic. Here are 5 important questions you need to ask a mechanic before you allow him/her to work on your car.
1. Have You Worked on My Car Brand/Model Before?
If you have paid attention to the signs on different car repair shops, you would have discovered that some car repair shops specialise in the repair of specific car types. This also goes for individual repair shops where some mechanics only specialise in the repair of a particular make and model of car.
Having your car checked by someone who is an expert in the particular make and model of your car gives you an assurance that your car is in safe hands.
2. Can You Show Me the Problem?
Not all mechanics are out there to pull the wool over you. But if you have one that is eager to swindle you, you can always beat him with this simple question. Ask for the part of the car that is in need to repair. Tell him you will like to see the part that is failing to work.
Of course, sometimes, the issues might be embedded in the electronics and therefore difficult to see but it is still necessary to ask this question always.
3. What Happens if I Don’t Fix This?
It is good to find out what the consequences will be if an issue is not taken care of right away. This is because issues with cars crop up without notice. It could be at a time when funds are low and you are willing to repair the defect but you just can’t afford to commit resources to it at that point in time.
It is, therefore, important to ask the mechanic what the long term effect of not fixing a specific fault is. This is vital because while a timing belt might need replacement, it is very possible that it could still endure a few thousand miles. However, a brake issue probably can’t wait and must be fixed instantly.
4. Can You Repair the Defects Based on Their Urgency?
There are times when you have a lot of repairs identified by the mechanic but not all of them are urgent. The mechanic may make some of these repairs sound urgent, it is left to you to ask what and what can wait for another time and what needs to be taken care of right away. Having a list of about five issues isn’t unusual, but a couple of them may not be pressing and so can wait for another time.
You should, therefore, ask your mechanic to attend to the repairs based on urgency and safety.
5. How Long Will the Repair Take?
The time frame the repairs will take is just as important as the fault with the car. Making the technician commit himself/herself to a particular time frame helps you plan around the period when you will not have the opportunity to drive your car.
Planning for this period helps you make arrangements for alternative means of transportation if it comes to that. Once the mechanic gives you a time frame, he/she will consider it a deadline and work towards it.
Final Thoughts on Questions For Mechanics
While asking the above questions, you could also chip the cost of estimates and repairs into the conversation. For instance, it’s important to know how much a diagnosis will cost and how long will it take. Also, after the whole repairs have been concluded, you should ask what repairs you should be looking out for. While the mechanic was working on the car, he could have detected other problems that are in their infant stages and would need attention soon.
Knowing that you have a particular repair in the pipeline keeps your mind on the potential cost and how to plan for its financial implication.