When it comes to mechanics, we’ve all heard the horror stories. There’s the stories where people have been overcharged exorbitantly, or where they’ve had non-existent services performed, or where they’ve not had the required parts serviced at all. When it comes to our cars, it’s a top priority to find someone trust-worthy. Afterall, most of us use our cars practically every day. When it comes to mechanics, we want to put our car keys in the right hands, and we most certainly don’t want to be taken for a ride – pardon the pun. So, how do you make sure we choose the right one?
A lot of the time, we get our recommendations from our family, friends, and colleagues; however, this isn’t always possible. Regardless of whether you have received some suggestions from your social network, it’s always a good idea to conduct your own research prior to giving a mechanic your hard earned money. It’s not only important to have a qualified mechanic, but one that has strong values and is ethical. Luckily, there are a number of publicly available resources you can consult to check this. So, read on to learn more how to find a trustworthy qualified mechanic.
This may seem like an obvious step but sometimes it is overlooked. Customer testimonials and reviews are something consumers trust. It is a great way to receive unbiased information regarding people’s experiences. When people love an experience, they want to share it – likewise if it’s terrible. Checking the star rating of an establishment on Google is a great way to see where the majority of people identify on this spectrum. This is essentially how we shop for products and services these days – and honestly, you’d be silly not to. Free and trustworthy information is readily out there.
“97% of participants said customer reviews factor into their buying decisions.” – Dixa.
Reading the reviews of automotive service shops helps you not only see whether people have good, bad, or average experiences, but Google usually pulls out a summary for you which explains key points that are recurring.
Things you should consider when reading reviews:
- What are people saying about customer service?
- Are the staff friendly, helpful and knowledgeable?
- Is the pricing fair?
- Is the place easy to access?
- Do they work around busy schedules?
- Do they work promptly?
- If someone’s giving an unfavourable review, what were their reasons?
On top of checking what people are saying, make sure you also check how many people are saying something. If a mechanic has a five star rating but only two reviewers, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is good. In that case, you need to do a little more research.
Just like many other professionals that provide key services, mechanics require certification. To be a motor mechanic in Australia, a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology (AUR30612) must be completed. This apprenticeship can take 3–4 years to complete. So, how do you know whether a mechanic has completed their apprenticeship?
Well, most of the time, you should be able to see their certificate at their place of work. Most mechanics will have their certifications displayed. On top of the mandatory apprenticeship, there are additional certificates that a mechanic can accumulate over time. An experienced and uh… driven mechanic may have certification from some of the following authorities.
- Local, regional, or international auto body associations and memberships.
- Training and certifications from their particular shop, including:
- Factory training in collision repair
- Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair
- ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
- OEM Certifications for shops that come from notable auto manufacturers like General Motors or Toyota
“The Blue Seal sets the business apart from others because it means that the staff is ASE-certified and that it has earned a favorable reputation from its clients.” – Grace Ferguson, BizFluent.
The ASE Symbol to look out for on display or on the mechanics uniform.
3.Workplace Morale and Employee Satisfaction
Understanding the dynamic, culture, and employee satisfaction of an automotive service shop can be a good indicator if your car is in good hands. Employees that enjoy their job and the company they work around are proven to provide higher service and value to customers. According to Kurt Matzler, Matthias Fuchs, and Astrid Schubert, university academics, “employee satisfaction drives productivity and customer satisfaction.” Those who work in a supportive and positive environment will work harder and feel more motivated to provide a higher standard of service. This something that you can sense when you walk into a workplace. So, take time to visit your mechanic and sense the atmosphere. Observe the behaviour of the employees. Are they happy? Or do they look like they’re dying to leave. No one likes being served by the latter.
Visiting the Shop
Visiting the shop is a great idea when trying to narrow down your decision and gather more information. If you’re going in, have some questions prepared to ask. Also, don’t be afraid to Explain your car issues thoroughly with your mechanic to judge their response – do a little prior research on the topic to see what the general consensus is on the internet (and of course Google prices).
Other things to ask about…
- Ask about the certifications they are displaying and about ones that they may not be displaying
- Ask a technician about his or her experience – how many years have they been in the job?
- Ask for a tour of the workshop
If You’re Still Concerned
If you’re unsure about the mechanic you’ve booked in with, there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself from dodgy mechanics. Next time you’re going in for a repair, take these steps to protect yourself from any unethical or dishonest practice.
- Get an itemised bill.
- Get a second opinion from another mechanic.
- Ask to be contacted if unexpected work is needed.
- Learn some of the basics of mechanics.
- Try to identify the fault yourself and explain what you think needs to be done (rather than getting mechanics to find the fault).
- Get a written estimate for the total price (including labour!) of the repair.
- Understand the conditions of any warranties.
- Check the price of new parts online (check that price against what they’re suggesting).
Going in for a repair or service doesn’t have to be scary. Despite the horror stories, there are a lot of good ethical mechanics out there, but they aren’t always in plain sight. It takes a bit of research to find a trustworthy mechanic. Follow our steps to help you find a qualified mechanic and protect yourself from being taken advantage of.
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