Top 8 Questions Your Auto Repair Mechanic Should Be Able to Answer

ratchet spanner and sockets and mechanic tools

Auto repair is, in many ways, a lot like surgery: inconvenient, expensive, and best left to the professionals. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous mechanics (and doctors) out there who have given the rest a bad reputation.

At Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers, we’d like all of our customers to feel comfortable knowing what they’re getting out of their auto repair experience, so we’ve put together a list of questions we think you should ask your mechanic (or us) before allowing them to touch your car.

1 – What do you charge for an evaluation?

Some auto repair shops do free evaluations, while others charge. It pays to weigh up the pros and cons here – just because the evaluation is free, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. Remember, any professional will charge for their time and running good diagnostics on a car can take specialist knowledge and training, as well as expensive precision equipment.

2 – Can I get a written estimate?

Get a quote for the repairs in writing, so there are no concerns later. Ask for a detailed estimate, too, not just one line total costs. You want to see an itemized list of parts, labor, and any additional tests that may be needed. We have to admit that auto repair can sometimes be a difficult journey. Make sure that, if there are any unforeseen expenses, they call you for authorization first.

3 – What accreditations do you and your technicians have?

What you really want to look out for here is ASE Certification. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies that auto repair technicians have the competence and technical ability to maintain and repair your vehicle.

4 – Can you show me the problem?

Look, we know not everyone knows everything about cars, but if your mechanic isn’t willing to show you where the problem is and what effect it’s having, they might be trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

It may be difficult to explain or demonstrate, but taking five minutes to show a customer how things work not only shows that the mechanic knows what they’re doing, but helps the customer understand their car better – and that’s a good thing!

5 – What caused this problem?

Is it your driving, or a common problem with your vehicle’s make and model? Was there preventive maintenance that should have been done, or does it have to do with the age of the car?

There are so many reasons why things can go wrong with your car, and some – although not all – can be prevented by good driving and maintenance habits. Your mechanic can give you good, solid advice on how to avoid recurring problems in the future.

6 – What does your auto repair shop specialize in?

Some garages operate across the board, while some specialize. It helps to know the difference – after all, it’s probably useless to take your 1969 Mustang to a garage that specializes in classic Rolls-Royce restorations. Make sure your mechanic has experience dealing with your make and model and that they can back that up with a referral.

7 – Which repairs are priority and which can wait (and why)?

We know what it’s like – when one thing goes wrong, ten things go wrong at the same time. Some repairs will have to be done immediately, while others can wait a few weeks. Get your mechanic to explain which ones are important, which can wait and explain why.

A really good mechanic will sit down with you and work out a repair schedule that’s going to help you minimize the impact on your budget while making sure everything gets done. It’s really important that you stick to the schedule, though, and also take any interim advice to heart. If he says don’t load it down with anything heavy until the brakes are done, don’t do it!

8 – Can you provide a courtesy car?

Some shops will and some won’t. This isn’t so much an indication of whether they’re any good or not, but it is a way to help plan your repairs. If it’s going to take a week to fix, you might need to rent a car if they don’t provide one.

Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers is Here to Help

Have you ever thought to ask any of these questions or others? Never be afraid to ask questions, talk to the experts, and get the answers you need. At Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers, we’re not afraid to give you honest and to-the-point answers, and we’re ready to deliver the best auto repair experience possible.