Apprehension and fear of being fooled: everyone has already felt this when taking their car to the garage. However, there are a number of clues that should put you on the alert and help you choose a serious professional.
A half-empty garage does not necessarily mean a bad reputation. It can also indicate that the professional is organized, and meets deadlines.
On the other hand, an outrageously dirty workshop, with puddles of oil and tools in every corner should make you think about the diligence of the professional who will inspect your car.
Respect for procedure
Nothing obliges a professional to establish its quotes for free. On the other hand, as soon as a repair is initiated, the mechanic must respect a certain number of legal rules.
- He cannot take a vehicle for repair or order parts without seeing your registration card.
- It is imperative that you sign a repair order, clearly showing the work to be done, as well as the presumed amount of the operations. In case of disagreement on the final invoice, this document is essential. The mechanic must give you a copy before repair.
- If, during the repair, the mechanic notices that unforeseen costs will be incurred, he must absolutely warn you.
- The mechanic is a professional. In this sense, it is bound by an obligation of result. Your vehicle must therefore be returned to you repaired according to the terms of the repair order.
- The hourly rate for labor must be clearly displayed. Know that any hour started is due.
Not everyone is a mechanic, and some mechanics know it well. A conscientious professional must however spend time with his client to explain point by point the operations that must be carried out on his vehicle. If you have any questions, and the mechanic says he doesn’t have time to open the hood to show you what he’s going to do, go your way.
Check the origin of the parts
Adaptable parts, or original manufacturer parts? If the estimate seems expensive to you for your car which is already old and has a lot of mileage, you can ask the mechanic to repair your car with so-called “adaptable” parts, which are not directly supplied by the manufacturer of your car.
Generally, less expensive, they are not always of poor quality, and often allow to “finish” a car.
If your car is badly worn, it can also offer you used parts, except for the safety components (tires, brakes, shock absorbers). Think about what you really want to invest in your old car that you will probably be parting with soon.
Has my vehicle been really repaired?
Some mechanics do not hesitate to charge for the replacement of parts that they will not change. If you are in doubt, before signing the repair order, demand that he keep the used parts to show you. They are yours, not his.
If the parts are really out of order, he will accede to your request with a smile.
- Simply ask the mechanic to install a real new tire.
- If in doubt, ask for proof of purchase of the tire with the date of manufacture.
Has my oil change been carried out correctly?
Many garages use the so-called “suction” drain, which consists of inserting a pump into the hole where the oil is poured in, in order to suck the used oil without undoing the drain plug located under the vehicle.
Quicker and easier to implement, this solution is not satisfactory, because the dirt and residual sludge remain at the bottom of the tank and will quickly contaminate the new oil. And that, all mechanics know.
To verify that your oil change has been performed correctly, before dropping your vehicle off, draw a chalk mark on the drain plug under the car. If your oil change includes changing the oil filter, do the same on the filter.
When you pick up your vehicle, check that your marks are gone. Indeed, if the plug has really been removed, the drain key, the oil flow and the hands of the professional on it will have erased the chalk. The absence of a mark on the filter will prove that it has been replaced.
Control the progress of operations
Do you have a little spare time? Use it to observe and follow the repair. A mechanic will not prevent you from seeing what is going on in the workshop. Moreover, many car centers offer waiting rooms equipped with large bay windows overlooking the workshop.
If you are categorically refused to see or be present during the repair, it is suspicious.