Driver Knowledge Tests

The importance of knowing a reliable mechanic for your beloved car

From time to time, we need to take our car into a garage for it to get some work done. Whether it is going for its next service or is flashing lights for a fault in the engine, we want peace of mind that our precious vehicle is taken good care of.

The problem is when you need some professional eyes looking over your car’s troubles, who are you trusting? It is relevant – now more than ever – to know how you will get your car sorted. Who is right for the job? And how can you be assured that they are really trustworthy?

Unfortunately, there are thousands of scammers nowadays who are waiting for an unforeseen victim to take advantage of. And when you are needing someone to help you, it can be difficult to always keep aware and know how to find a reliable mechanic for your favorite toy! Here are some ways that can help guide you when looking for a reliable mechanic. 

Do they have a good track record?

An easy way to find a mechanic with a trusted track record is through friends or family who have a good recommendation to offer. Though it isn’t always possible to get direct feedback from people you trust, many online platforms have excellent review sections. Here you can find a mechanic in your area, perhaps specialising in the car you have, and you’ll likely find some reviews to give you a better idea of who you’ll be working with.

If a mechanic’s workshop has several branches, this can offer insight into their history and popularity. For example, car specialists at LeMans Motors are now open in several locations across Brisbane and this speaks to a level that is maintained across branches, as their reputation impacts the others. With standardized services across the branches, this indicates that the company likely oversees that employees undergo thorough internal training protocols. 

The mechanic is certified

Around the world, there are national certification boards that govern and regulate service industry professionals. The process is no different for mechanics, and knowing that your car is in the hands of someone whose job is overseen by a regulatory body is very comforting. You may find a trained mechanic who you trust and it comes recommended, and this is fantastic. If you do not know anything about your automotive professional, it is very encouraging to hire a certified individual.

In Australia, an entry-level mechanic completes a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, after which a two-to-four-year internship is completed. You should feel free to ask your mechanic about their work experience. 

They offer thorough diagnostics on the issue

An expert that knows what they are doing is almost certainly going to be able to tell you what is wrong and be able to give you some evidence for how they came to this conclusion. They should ask some follow-up questions to clarify their viewpoint, then give you some reassurance as to how the problem is fixed and what you can expect. 

Mechanic work should be transparent

You may have some difficulty standing beside your mechanic while they are working, especially if they have to work under your car! But, you should never get the feeling that your mechanic wouldn’t want you to see what they’re doing, or that they’re hiding their work from you.

Preferably, you should have multiple trained eyes on the car, with the mechanics – perhaps at the beginning during the initial exploratory phase – checking out together and giving each other feedback about what they think is the issue. This is especially significant if the problem is not so simple, then the mechanic should be able to communicate clearly their process.

Good communication skills

This may not be as obvious, but your hired mechanic must communicate well with you. This is relevant for many reasons but speaks to how well they keep you informed of the work they’re doing, updates on how it’s going, and especially important: how they communicate when something is wrong.

If the job hasn’t gone to plan, or there is a much bigger issue at play that the mechanic was unaware of, it will take strong skills to navigate this potentially contentious problem. There doesn’t have to be an argument, it can very easily become a heated conversation. One way to know whether a mechanic is reliable is how they handle business when things go pear-shaped.

How the professional communicates with you should put you at ease, and have you believing in their expert opinion. Of course, this trust will depend on a few things, but a crucial factor that many people overlook about service professionals is how the professional relationship is built and the strength of the rapport. 

They respect your business

There is not one single person who, in some way or another, has not taken advantage of themselves. Everyone knows the feeling that they should’ve done better, or done more research, or should’ve seen it coming. A mechanic you approach should understand – and make you feel – that your car is important. They should value the work they’re doing, be aligned in being transparent, respect you as the customer, and be direct about the work they’re doing. 

Your mechanic should welcome conversation

It is important that during your time chatting with a trained mechanic that they welcome questions or concerns you’re having. It is a stressful time to not know what is wrong with your primary mode of transport, your reliable access to get around the city.

Talk to the mechanic who is taking you on as a customer and be comforted that your car is being looked after. It may not be the best conversation you’ve had, but the professional must be approachable, ready to answer queries, and not defensive about their work or expertise. In this way, you will leave with your car, more educated about how things work, and likely more confident to call a service professional again.

A mechanic aims to communicate to tend to your vehicle, but also to help you in your car journey. Conversing with someone who knows, breathes, and works with cars every day – this should be an interesting visit. Plus, you should leave feeling empowered by what you’ve learned!

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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