Have you ever felt ripped off by a mechanic?
According to a study by Click Mechanic, almost a quarter of the British public felt ripped off by the price they were quoted when they last visited their car mechanic, with almost half having no idea of what costs to expect for common car repairs.
Of course, not all garages are out to scam you. Most mechanics are passionate, professional and take pride in the service they provide their customers. However, the thought of dealing with a rogue mechanic has left 23% of the people surveyed feeling stressed out by the experience and made 25% nervous about entering a garage.
With that in mind, we're uncovering five ways you can feel more confident when your car needs some professional attention.
Worry: Finding a reputable garage
It always pays to do a little homework before deciding where to take your car to be serviced or repaired. Make sure you ask friends and family for recommendations and check online for any reviews.
We also recommend checking out 'Which? Trusted Trader'. All garages part of the scheme have been subject to credit & customer reference checks, examinations of their business procedures and a visit from an assessor, ensuring they are reputable.
Worry: Too much car jargon
If you don't know a lot about the mechanics of your car, talking to your garage can be a daunting experience. Phrases like "You've got mayonnaise under your oil cap" or "there's excessive play in the..." could mean nothing to everyday motorists.
If you're unsure of what your mechanic is telling you, don't be afraid to ask them to explain what they mean. If they won't, then you should question what exactly they're doing to your car. It may also be useful to brush up on some of the common jargon used by mechanics.
You probably won't have the time to learn all the nuts and bolts of your car, but a glance at the manual should also give you a clearer idea of what might need fixing. Remember, knowledge is power.
Worry: Being overcharged
If your car needs new parts and you don't know how much these usually cost for the make and model of your car, you could feel that they have just plucked a price from the air.
First things first, don't agree to any fixes until you're sure of what it should be costing you. Before you give your mechanic the go-ahead, do some research. Whether you ask someone with car know-how or have a quick search online, having a rough idea of what you should be paying will help put your mind at rest. This handy car repairs calculator tells you how much you should expect to pay for car servicing and repairs in your local area: https://www.whocanfixmycar.com/car-service-cost-calculator
Worry: Has the work actually been done?
If you're being charged for new parts, then that's exactly what you should pay for. So, before anything is fitted, ask to see the new part and even the old part after it's replaced. It's important to check that they are using approved parts or equivalent parts, so you don't invalidate any remaining warranty on your car.
It may also be useful for the mechanic to show you the work they've done. This will not only help you feel more confident about what work has been carried out, it will also provide an opportunity to learn about any issues you may have to deal with again in the future.
Worry: Additional, unexpected costs
Before any work is done, ask for a written quote and make sure this includes parts, labour and VAT. Insist that they call you regarding any additional work that you haven't yet agreed to. This way, you can discuss the repairs or ask them to hold off until you've done some research of your own about the issue. After the work is done, request an invoice that details the work done and parts used. You can also get a stamp in your service book, which will prove you have looked after the car, if you ever come to sell.