Don't Be Your Auto Mechanic's Worst Nightmare

mechanics nightmareIt seems that every vehicle owner has a mechanic horror story. They brought in their new under-warranty car and left with thousands in repair bills. They sat and watched as the mechanic tried to drive the car out of the bay while it was still lifted in the air. Or, worst of all, a mechanic actually scammed them.

Thankfully, these occurrences are few and far between. In fact, most horror stories involving mechanics actually happen because of the customer, not the employee.

With that in mind, here are four faux pas that you should avoid the next time you head in for repairs:

1. The deferred maintenance

There’s a reason why your vehicle needs regular maintenance, like a 3,000-mile oil change or tire rotation. It prevents serious breakdowns. Even so, this hasn’t stopped plenty of customers from yelling at their mechanics for costly repair bills due to their own negligence.

“Stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance.”

Don’t be this person. You shouldn’t be mad at the mechanic because you never changed your oil for 100,000 miles and destroyed your engine. Or because you declined to have your water pump replaced, only to have it leak a few months later. Make sure you are a responsible, proactive vehicle owner, and your mechanic will be a lot happier for it.

2. The uncooperative attitude

Mechanics’ need information to repair your vehicle. While it can be tough to accurately describe the sound you heard a few miles back, all information is good information.

Unfortunately, too many customers withhold information from their mechanics. Instead:

  • Write down when the problem occurred
  • What makes it happen (braking or accelerating, for example)
  • Any changes in your vehicle

All of this data will allow your mechanic to accurately fix the problem, which will save you time, money and energy in the long run.

3. The blame game

Skip the bame and dodge the headacheVehicles have a lot of moving parts. One problem can often lead to another, and your mechanic will typically only fix the issue that you asked them to fix. This means when you notice a new problem after leaving with your repaired car, you often shouldn’t blame the mechanic.

There are a number of reasons why your vehicle has more than one problem with it. One of those reasons is rarely your mechanic. This is especially true if they asked if you wanted to fix something else while they were looking at your vehicle, like the timing belt when they are fixing your air conditioner. If you say no, and then something breaks, the fault’s on you, not your mechanic.

4. The insurance and warranty assumption

Last, but certainly not least, is the insurance or warranty assumption. An insurance policy and a warranty are great tools to have, but they don’t always come into play for vehicle repairs.

For instance, your insurance policy will typically factor in if you have an accident or if your vehicle is damaged through no fault of your own. Skipping your routine maintenance, and then yelling at your mechanic because your engine needs to be repaired and your insurance won’t cover it, isn’t a solution. The same goes for your warranty. While this covers more routine maintenance than insurance, it doesn’t cover everything.

So, the best option is to know your benefits. Understand your insurance policy and vehicle warranty so you are an educated consumer when you head to the mechanic’s shop.

Are you a mechanic’s worst nightmare? Don’t be! Avoid these common faux pas and you’ll end up saving time and money, not to mention skipping that vehicle-repair headache.


If you’re in the market for a good mechanic, here’s our “how to,” on selecting the right mechanic.

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