Knowing how to talk to a mechanic can keep you informed, help you save money, and protect your vehicle. Whether you’re taking your vehicle in for routine maintenance or to address a problem, use these tips for talking to a mechanic about your car.
Prepare Before Going
While there are several pros and cons to having a professional service your Jeep, for example, perhaps the most common concern people have is that they’re going to end up paying for services they really didn’t need. The best defense against this is to prepare before you go to a shop.
First, find a reputable mechanic through online reviews or based on personal recommendations. Look for a mechanic who will offer a written estimate before doing any repair work. For peace of mind and a smooth experience, it could be worthwhile to drive a little out of your way for service.
For routine maintenance, look at your vehicle’s maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual, or locate the information online. The maintenance schedule will indicate the work that needs to be done, and at what intervals. If the shop recommends other work, you’ll feel more empowered to ask about these extra services your vehicle manufacturer didn’t list.
Clearly Describe Any Issues
If you’re going into the shop to fix a problem, the next tip for talking to a mechanic about your car is to clearly explain the issue. Describe strange smells, sounds, or sensations, and when the issues started occurring. You can also offer to take the mechanic for a test drive so they can experience the issue firsthand.
Share relevant information, like what you were doing when the problem arose and the date your vehicle was last serviced. Unless you know the cause of these issues or are an experienced mechanic yourself, avoid sharing your suppositions and instead focus on clearly explaining the problem.
Ask Questions and Get a Written Estimate
Once you receive the suggestions for repairs, ask questions if you have any. You might want to ask the mechanic to explain the details of the repairs. Or you can ask about using original equipment manufacturer parts versus aftermarket parts.
A written estimate should include what the shop will fix, which parts the repair requires, and the labor charge. The estimate can also include a statement that the final cost of the repair won’t exceed the estimation by a certain amount without customer approval.