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Five Things To Look For When Choosing A Mechanic For Your Car

Finding the right mechanic for your car can be a bit of a hassle. But it pays to make the right decision.

This is because a good mechanic not only saves you money and time but also saves you from unnecessary heartache.

So if you want that four-wheeled baby of yours to be well taken care of and you are wondering how to make the right choice, then here’s five things you should look for when choosing your car repairer.

Before listing them, I want to stress one rule of thumb. This rule of thumb states that every individual must have a basic understanding of his or her vehicle.

This understanding will enable you to sniff out the quirks in potential mechanics when the need arises.

You should know when your car just needs new plugs or has a dead battery or various basic problems.

This is why you are strongly advised to have a regular car maintenance routine as this will familiarise you with your car.

You should also try to be conversant with the current prices of motor spare parts as this will protect you from the cheats and opportunists out there.  

Having said that, let’s get to the good stuff.

5. Qualifications of the Mechanic

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Because your car actually costs money, it deserves a well-trained hand. You need to be sure the person you choose is up to the task.

In Nigeria, the auto repairer profession has been so bastardized. Any impostor with a dirty shirt and some spanners can claim to be a mechanic.

Don’t think asking for your mechanic’s qualification is ridiculous. It’s not that he has to have a bachelor’s degree per se but he needs to provide proof that he is up to the task.

This proof can come in any form. It can be a certificate from his former ‘master’ or trainer, it can be his age (generally, the younger they are, the more likely they’re not experienced or qualified enough).

It can also be from the amount of apprentices he has under him.

When a mechanic attracts a lot of apprentices, he’s likely to have adequate experience.

You don’t want to hand your car over to a youth who did not even bother to complete his training before running off to start his own workshop.

Normally it is easy to spot an inexperienced mechanic from your first interaction with him. Imagine you come with a complaint that your car makes a funny sound whenever it comes on.

And then the mechanic without even switching on the car to hear the sound, pops open the bonnet and quickly rushes to lose your carburettor, fiddle with the fan belt or just goes nuts on your engine.

You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that all is not well.

4. Note the Mechanic’s Track Record

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A tree is judged by its fruit. If a tree bears bad fruits then that tree is a bad tree, is it not? In the same vein, you must judge your mechanic by his works.

On your first visit to his workshop, try to pay attention to the surroundings.

Is the place scanty? Is it full of cars? If it’s full of cars, what condition are the cars in? Is it the type of workshop that looks like a cemetery?

In a motor vehicle cemetery, you are likely to find several dead, dilapidated cars obviously abandoned by their owners without hope of resurrection.

Do you want your car to join the dead ones? Of course it is possible that motor owners might abandon their cars in a mechanic’s workshop for some time maybe because of financial difficulty.

But on the other hand, the dead cars might be there because both the mechanic and the owners have lost hope.

As a rule of thumb you should be wary of dropping your car with someone whose workshop looks like a dump for scrap metal and auto parts.

It doesn’t tell well and who’s to say he would not exchange some of your parts with some of the dead spare parts lying around?

In the same vein, a scanty workshop is a sign of inexperience or low patronage. You should compare the amount of vehicles in the workshop after three to four visits.

This will enable you to know whether the mechanic is just having a slow day or whether he actually receives little patronage.

If the mechanic is such a person that receives low patronage, you patronise him at your own risk. Your car is far too important to experiment with.

It’s better to make use of what others have already tried, tested and have come to trust. Simply put, go for a mechanic with a good reputation or track record.

3. Availability of the Mechanic

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Does your mechanic have time for you or is he too busy to attend to your car?

It is possible to find a mechanic that has a great track record and is well qualified but consequently is so highly patronised that he doesn’t have the time to attend to your car.

In such a situation, you can have your car spend up to three weeks in the workshop for a fault that could be solved in three or four hours.

Obviously this is not an ideal situation. A good mechanic must be available.

There are also some repairers that display favouritism. Consider a situation where you came first to the workshop and the repairer is attending to you but suddenly another customer arrives with a more expensive car.

Now on seeing this customer, imagine the mechanic leaves you to attend to the newcomer or assigns one of his apprentices to you while he goes to attend to the customer.

Don’t write this off or try to choose the path of humility. Such an action should make it obvious that your car is not a priority.

And if the mechanic is capable of this sort of behaviour, then he is also capable of not putting his best effort when attending to your car.

Secondly, you should take note of how accessible your potential repairer’s workshop is. Some auto-repairers have workshops that are so remote you have to cross seven rivers and seven seas to get to them.

This is not ideal. First of all, patronising them compromises your security because it is easier to perpetrate crime in remote places.

Also, this inaccessibility increases your expenses.

You’ll have to spend more on transport or fuel and you are more prone to lose your peace of mind especially when you’re forced to leave your car in the workshop. Afterall, anything can happen.

2. Dependability of the Mechanic

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If your mechanic says your car will be ready in one day, then your car should be ready in one day.

In a situation where you come the next day and there’s an excuse, you come again, there’s another excuse or some new fault pops up that wasn’t there before, you’re dealing with an inefficient repairer.

Note your repairer’s character. Is he the type that knows how to spin tales? The story-teller mechanic is one to be wary of.

This is because they never accept blame. They are always quick to give excuses or try to wriggle out of problems that probably arose by reason of their own inefficiency.

Consider a situation where your mechanic is working on your car and he lacks one of the parts he needs to continue.

Now instead of purchasing that part, he goes to another car in his workshop and takes the part from there to put in your car.

Normally, he’ll tell you not to worry, that by the time the owner of the other car comes, he would have found a replacement.

This is a character you should be wary of. It shows that he is reckless and unprofessional. If he can do that to someone else’s vehicle, then he can do that to your car.

This is why when a motor repairer claims that a part of your car is faulty and maybe it happens to be a part you just recently replaced, you should be suspicious.

It may well be that the part is not faulty but rather, he’s given it away to someone else. Beware of young reckless repairers who are likely to sell off your motor parts for quick gains without consulting you.

Also when you have a reckless mechanic, he can take your car out for a spin. Consider situations where the car has to stay at the workshop for a couple of days.

You would be surprised to know that an untrustworthy mechanic instead of doing his work would use the car to traipse around at night, picking young ladies or doing whatever he pleases.

This action might create more complex faults in the car which will ultimately increase your overall expenses.

1. Honesty

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How honest is the fellow you’re dealing with? This is why I started by saying you should know your car. Knowing your car will enable you to know when you’re being bamboozled.

Imagine you know that all your car needs is a change of spark plugs but the repairer with all seriousness tells you that you need a new carburettor. You should know you are dealing with a charlatan.

A dishonest mechanic will bleed your pocket.

If you’re ignorant of the price of spare parts in the markets, then he is very likely to cite lofty prices whenever there is the need to purchase spare parts.

He may also go as far as fitting your vehicle with fake parts that would not last.

Also when a repairer is dishonest, he is very prone to doing half-jobs in the hopes of making you return to his workshop.

Such individuals deliberately leave a fault behind just so that you patronise them regularly.

When you notice that your car seems to develop new faults regularly, it does not always mean that the car is old or needs ‘servicing’ as most car owners believe.

You are very likely suffering from the ills of a dishonest repairer.

Having said all these, please try to keep these points in mind when dealing with your motor repairer or when on the hunt for a new car expert because you’ve got nothing to lose except your money and your time.   

 

 
 

I’m just Samuel, bony faced, laidback, absentminded Samuel. I don’t like to say much, I try to stay out of trouble. Some might say otherwise but that's some for you. Point is we don’t care, let’s just be chill and have fun. So come by whenever and ask me whatever.  It’s our party now and it won't start until your arrival.

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