7 things your mechanic wants you to know but may not tell you

7 things your mechanic wants you to know but may not tell you

Everyone knows the day will come when Murphy’s law takes control and everything goes wrong. Emergencies happen, and in the auto care business, we understand that your transportation is a huge part of personal efficiency. 

We promise to try to accommodate anything that comes up, but when certain customers consistently bring in vehicles with nasty interiors, empty gas tanks or missing wheel lock keys that want the cheapest jobs possible and want us to have it done yesterday, they can be in for a disappointment.

Below are seven things your mechanic wants you to know, but may not tell you. 

1. Bring your car in clean.

If you are having any interior work done like electrical wiring behind the dash or heater cores replaced, please bring your car in clean. This way, I won't be disgusted by your dirty used tissues or sweaty gym sneakers and feel like I want to rush through the job. A little consideration goes a long way!

2. Bring your car in with gas. 

We need to test drive vehicles to replicate symptoms that customers complain about, and we also test drive them when we are finished with repairs. If we have to stop and fuel up, it is a waste of our time and it will show up on your bill. 

3. I value your time; please value mine. 

Even “just looking” at a car will most likely incur a charge. Your shop should be open and up-front about their hourly labor rate and how much a service will cost. Call other shops and ask them what their labor rate is to be sure it's comparable.

4. As with most things, you get what you pay for. 

A cheap oil filter is just toilet paper inside a can. But if you use at least a semi-synthetic blend and a high quality filter, you can get away with five months or 5,000 miles or more per oil change.

5. Have your wheel lock key accessible.

If we're checking the brakes or rotating the tires, give us your wheel lock key, or at least keep it somewhere visible. Again, if we have to search around looking for it, it will cost you for our time.

6. Get a second opinion if you don't trust me. 

Be wary of other mechanics that urge you to “do this today.” Ask them to hold onto the parts to show you what they've replaced; even if you don't know what you're looking at, it'll make them think you do.

7. Don't feel bad about calling to get an update on your car. 

Feel free to call, but please understand that getting parts can be a problem sometimes and may cause delays. Additionally, a job may become more complicated as we get into it. Please try to make other arrangements for at least one day to pick your kid up from school, get to a doctor appointment or get home from work.

About this Angie's List Expert: JoAnn Shilling is the office manager for Joe Shilling, Inc., which has been proudly providing automotive repair services in the Wilmington, Del., area for more than 30 years. The company, which hires only ASE-certified technicians, is Delaware emission certified, a NAPA Auto Care Center, a AAA approved repair facility and affiliated with the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association.

As of May 28, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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