Is My Mechanic Honest?
Considering there are some 800,000 auto mechanics in the US, about one for every 316 cars, it makes sense that most drivers don’t know much about cars. Unfortunately, dishonest mechanics might exploit that inexperience, overcharging for auto repairs or suggesting unnecessary and expensive services, to name a few. How do you know if your mechanic is being honest?
HOW DISHONEST MECHANICS WORK
Dishonest mechanics may exploit the unaware by hyping up a service, with confusing technobabble, or suggesting “shotgun” repairs. If you hear, “Your car is going to (explode, burn, die) if you don’t do this,” be wary and get a second opinion. Rarely is a repair such a dire emergency.
Dishonest mechanics and hack mechanics might suggest shotgun repairs. There’s almost no chance that your no-start problem will need a starter, battery, and alternator to fix. Similarly, there’s almost zero chance that the check engine light will require replacement of all catalytic converters and all oxygen sensors.
“All service and repair must be done by the dealer to maintain the warranty” has been mired in myth for a century. The 1975 Magnuson Moss Warranty Act doesn’t allow automakers to specify who services and repairs your vehicle or whose parts to use. Stick to parts and fluids that meet or exceed standards, and your warranty remains in full effect.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE AN HONEST MECHANIC
Admittedly, it can be difficult to recognize an honest mechanic, especially if you know little about cars. Start with reading the owner’s manual. To an honest mechanic, there’s nothing better than an informed customer!
An honest mechanic will explain what your car needs and why, so their clients can make educated and responsible choices. Honest mechanics will also give proof of whatever they’re recommending, so you can see it with your own eyes.
Honest mechanics communicate, before, during, and after the repair. If you’re in for scheduled maintenance, compare it to your owner’s manual. Honest mechanics give detailed written estimates, including, parts, labor, fluids, and other supplies. During the service, you might get a call, so keep your phone handy to reduce delays