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5 Things Never Say to a Mechanic if You Want to Save Money on Your Repair Bills

Here’s some good advice on what you should never say to any mechanic if you want to save money on your next repair bill and avoid any hard feelings between you and your mechanic.


Being Helpful Is Not Always Seen That Way

The biggest worry car owners have is being taken advantage of by a mechanic in a garage or service center. And for good reason as has been pointed out in numerous articles on this website.

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However, car owners can take some control in a car repair situation by knowing what to say and what not to say to a mechanic, as well as showing the mechanic that you have some idea of what your vehicle’s problem is and why you are seeking his services.

BUT, and this is a big but---there are things you should not say to a mechanic despite you may think you are helping out with the repair. That was the message in a recent Car Wizard YouTube channel episode where the host warns car owners, five things you should never say to your mechanic because trying to be helpful is not always seen that way by a mechanic.

Spoiler Alert Below

That said, here is the video that explains how to approach a mechanic with your repairs that can save you money.

Please Note: In case you want to skip ahead to the five things never to say, a summarized spoiler alert is provided in the “And finally…” section below. However, for more details such as what you should say instead, refer to the video on the best way to approach a repair with your mechanic.

5 things to NEVER say to your auto mechanic! CAR WIZARD knows after 20+ years! Save you tons of $$$

And finally…

The 5 Things:

1. Never give the mechanic carte blanche with any repair before a diagnosis and estimate are provided. In other words, do not say “Just fix it all” because the ambiguity of such a statement can add on repairs you may not really want done.

2. Never give your mechanic a pre-diagnosis you’ve found online---especially followed with telling him or her to only fix that item you think is the problem.

3. Don’t tell your mechanic how to do a repair---aside from ticking him off, you will more likely than not add hours to the repair by having him follow your instructions.

4. Do not ask the mechanic if you can sit in the shop and watch him do the repair. This is just common sense, but people ask this one all the time. It’s rude and sends the message that you do not trust him.

5. Never prepurchase the parts you need to try to save money. While it might seem a smart way to cut costs, the biggest problem is that you will void your repair warranty because the mechanic could be stuck with faulty cheap Asian parts that will not work and/or poorly enough and thereby risking making you unhappy with the repair.

Related article: Amazon Auto Parts Scam You Need to Know About

For additional articles about working with mechanics, here are three selected articles to consider:

The Biggest Red Flag You’ve Taken Your Car to the Wrong Mechanic

Consumer Reports Car Experts on Finding a Trustworthy Mechanic

Why Car Maintenance and Repair is So High Today, Says This Mechanic

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

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Ian Flores (not verified)    June 11, 2023 - 2:55AM

Number 5 is just bad advice for people who know what they are doing. As somebody who has worked the parts counter I have seen my fair share of people insisting on buying the cheapest parts, rebuilt, or just flat out wrong.

That does not mean you can not same time and money buying OEM or equivalent part online rather than waiting for the mechanic to call the parts store to deliver them and charge you their rate for parts, assuming that you can trust the mechanic not to cheap out themselves while still charging you for premium parts. And of course not all cheap parts are necessarily bad, or worth paying more, if you trust the brand or if the repair does not involve spending too much time getting other stuff out of the way, than as long as you accept rhe risks involved gambling with cheaper parts can be a very good idea.