Your car is the most expensive gadget you own and therefore, It is important to keep your maintenance and repair costs down over the lifespan of your vehicle.
With the average hourly rate charged for a mechanic ranging from $100 to $150 and upwards an hour it is no wonder that many customers are left scratching their heads and wondering if they are being ripped off.
Here’s our helpful tips:-
1. Ask Around
The most fundamental element of not getting ripped off is to only do business with an honest shop. It is best to first ask around.
Survey your family and friends for suggestions, especially those that drive a similar make or model. Most automotive repair businesses thrive on word-of-mouth advertising particularly for independent and local workshops. Most people will not refer you to someone who has over-charged and under-delivered.
2. Think Independent
Independent automotive workshops should get a consideration over dealerships, because the business model means long-term relationships with their customers. Any place that routinely overcharges customers risk damaging that relationship with the customer and will potentially receive negative reviews on their website etc. Independents also are better to develop and maintain a full service for your vehicle, which will help guide scheduled maintenance and keep your overall costs down.
Dealerships tend to charge more for labour, closer to the top end of approximately $150 per hour range hour range. It’s kind of a market driven thing. They will base it on the fact that their mechanics are dealership trained, and they've got all the special tools that not everybody's got.
3. Look & Evaluate
When visiting an automotive repair workshop, have a look around the floor. Quality mechanics/owners take pride in their appearance and their shop. If the workshop is clean, the work floor is tidy and there’s not any half-repaired old cars lined up out front, that’s a good sign. Also talk to the person that will actually have their hands under the hood. Get a feel for their expertise and ask questions. A good mechanic will spend time with you to answer all your questions.
4. Ask for Quotes
A reputable automotive repair workshop will look at your vehicle and then diagnose what is required.
Always get a written and itemised estimate. Do not agree to the work until you understand exactly what is being done and why. Remember that the final bill may vary slightly from the written estimate. however, it should not be more than 10% higher than the estimate. Don’t forget to ask about warranties. A good mechanic will guarantee his work.
5. Quality Parts & Materials
A reputable automotive repair workshop will use quality parts and materials.
Your quote and final pricing will depend largely on the quality of the parts and materials used.
Please check with your mechanic to ensure that quality parts and materials are being used and many customers do request to have the old parts to view to ensure that they have been replaced – an in need of replacement in the first place.
Whilst your mechanic can use ‘genuine’ or ‘after-market’ parts,
Genuine parts – vehicle parts by the original equipment manufacturer (EOM) ie; Mercedes vehicle parts made by Mercedez Benz.
After market parts – vehicle parts not made by the original equipment manufacturer (EOM), however, can be fitted to the vehicle at a lesser cost.
A big no no is cheap recycled engine oil. If your mechanic uses recycled engine oil this is a recipe for disaster and can damage your engine. Always ask what engine oil and grade your mechanic will use as modern vehicle requires different grades of engine oil.
6. Scheduled Maintenance Work
Should your automotive repair workshop suggest scheduled maintenance, which occurs at specific mileage and chronological points as your vehicle ages, check the scheduled maintenance services outlined in your owner’s manual.
Scheduled maintenance is recommended by the manufacturer for each make and model and should generally followed. This ensures the ongoing optimal running of your vehicle and should also keep general repairs and associated costs down.
7. Keep Your Receipts
If you have been jumping from one mechanic to another, it is important to keep your service records and receipts.
By maintaining a solid service history, you will be able to check these records when a new mechanic advises you what needs to be replaced. There may be an instance that your previous mechanical may have installed defective replacement parts that should be under warranty.
Do your homework and call a couple of reputable workshops. Ask questions and get them to provide an estimate/quote. Once you find a reputable workshop and good mechanic, stick with them.