Whether it be miscommunication, bad communication, a faux pas, or just an attitude that needs to be checked before entering a garage when dropping off or picking up your car, it’s a good idea to always be not just civil, but actually polite when dealing with a mechanic.
Yes, some garages as I’ve pointed out in earlier articles will take advantage of a car repair situation; however, other garages are just the opposite and try to be as helpful as possible to ensure that your car is getting the repair(s) it needs and at a fair price.
In short, give the garage the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise. Or, as President Ronald Regan once “borrowed” from the Russians, “Trust…but verify.”
Things You Should and Should Not Ever Do
In a recent Car Wizard YouTube channel episode, the host of the show reflects back on the past 5 years and shares some of the thing’s customers do that not only irritate a mechanic, but also leads to difficulties that prolong or even prevent a proper repair from being done.
To help others understand what a garage is often up against, here is some sage advice that bears repeating every now and then whenever you have a car with a problem and what you should and should not say or do during what is often a stressful situation.
That said, here is a summary of the Car Wizard’s advice to customers.
- Avoid leaving a car for repair knowing that you need it back right away: The problem with this is that until a diagnosis is made you cannot count on having your car back in working condition the next day. The diagnosis might be difficult; Parts might not be readily available; Someone else may have previously attempted a repair and has now made the diagnosis more difficult.
- Same day service is not a realistic guarantee or expectation: Just because you dropped off your vehicle today does not mean that it will be worked on that day or even the next day. Garages, like other businesses, have multiple customers and there is a constant juggling repair act going on to ensure that work is being done efficiently to make the most of the staff on hand. Toss in an unexpected problem with one repair (which is almost always guaranteed) and other repairs wind up delayed. It’s all part of the business of car repair.
- Don’t drop off your vehicle late in the day: Even if you are scheduled for what should be a quick repair or maintenance, do not show up in the afternoon when other jobs have already been started and the end of the workday is just around the corner. Mechanics have to schedule their repairs at the beginning of the day, which is why garages often recommend dropping off your vehicle as early as possible or the night before.
- Be available and respond when called: Ofttimes a repair needs to be okayed beyond the drop-off by the customer because something else was found that a mechanic needs customer input about before proceeding any further. This is just good business practice so that the customer does not wind up with a bigger than expected bill and bad feelings.
- Be prepared to pay for your repair bill: This may seem like a given, but it is not unusual for a customer to request a repair and then try to delay payment with whatever excuse after the repair is done. Uh, uh…that is not going to fly with most businesses, and you will legally be without a car until payment is made.
- Plan your pick-up: Once the work is complete it’s time to pay your bill and remove your vehicle from the garage’s care. The only time it is okay to leave a vehicle for an extended period is by a prior agreement with the garage. Garages are not storage facilities.
For more details provided by the host, here is the video provided below for your viewing pleasure:
Thank You, It’s Been One Hell of a Ride
For additional articles related to customers and mechanics, here are a few for your consideration:
- Best of Mechanic Problems and Their Mechanical Nightmares
- Car Repair Horrors Mechanics Face Every Day
- A Dealership Horror Story That Could Happen to You
Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.
Image source: Deposit Photos