I had a different article written for this week, but then I came across an article called “10 Things Mechanics Don’t Want You to Know.” This article was clickbait garbage, and tried to say that sleazeball scammers were the norm in auto repair shops. While shady repair shops do exist, the vast majority of shops are honest and have good intentions. The crooks are usually pretty easy to spot and avoid. To prove them wrong, here are the answers to their 10 things that “We Don’t Want You to Know.”
How Easy Some Repairs Are
First of all, many customers simply don’t want to do any repair themselves, regardless how easy it is. I think most people know oil changes are very easy, but most drivers don’t want the mess so leave it to us. Other easy repairs we are happy to tell you are easy fixes. Why? Because it puts your mind at ease knowing the car will be in and out quickly without major surgery.
What Other Customers Think of Us
We LOVE telling people what other customers think about us. We ask people all the time to leave us reviews on Facebook and Google. Why? Because we treat our customers right and they appreciate it. Even when someone has a bad experience, we don’t hide it and we respond, because we would like to turn it into a great experience. Read reviews, and share yours! We want everyone to know that we provided great service.
Which Cars are Reliable
While unreliable cars can keep us in business, telling you to buy a junker will destroy your trust that we work hard to earn. We are more than happy to tell you what cars are reliable, and what common problems cars have. The easy way to tell if a car is reliable? Drive past a bunch of repair shops and make a note of which cars you see in every shop, and which cars you never see there. The most reliable cars rarely need to visit shops, but if there are 3 of the same car in every shop, there may be a good reason why. That said, there are a few cars that have one common problem, and once that is fixed are great cars to own. We are happy to tell you that as well.
That Some Shops are Cheaper than Others
I have a phrase I like to use: Cheap is low price and low quality. Value is high quality at a fair price. Which would you rather have? There will always be someone who can do it cheaper, and there are a lot who are far more expensive than we are, too. The thing we do differently than any of them? Quality. Not saying the other shops don’t do good work, but they aren’t guaranteeing it for 100,000 miles like we do. They also aren’t half as good looking as we are.
The True Price of Car Parts
Here, the author says that many shops make a profit on the parts they install on cars. All businesses make money on what they sell, but the real reason parts are more expensive at shops is the quality. Yes, AutoZone will sell you brake pads for $19.99, and ours may be $69.99. Why? Quality. The $20 pads last ½ as long, make noise, leave your wheels covered in black dust, and you will hate us for it. We use the best parts available to keep you happy, and that is part of how we can offer you a 100,000 mile warranty. Please feel free to compare our prices to auto parts stores, online, or the dealer. Just make sure you aren’t comparing apples to oranges, and remember, those cheaper parts won’t get the replacements installed free if they fail.
How the “Book Time” Works
Book time mostly applies only to dealerships, and is the time it takes the “average” technician to do a repair according to manufacturer procedures, and dealers use this for warranty purposes and to keep costs the same at every dealer. On a 1 hour job, you pay 1 hour whether the tech did it in 30 minutes or 3 hours. We don’t use book time, and you benefit. Our technicians don’t have the incentive to cut corners just to beat the book time. Our labor times reflect the actual time we typically spend on the car, and it is almost always less than “book time.” Our transmission rebuilds usually bill a lot less time than “book time” because our technicians specialize in transmission work, and can get the job done faster than a dealer tech who only does 1 or 2 a year.
We Don’t Know How to Fix the Problem
No technician in the world can know every problem that occurs on every make and model car, just like no doctor knows the cause of every symptom. This is why shops invest in expensive testing equipment, information databases, and ongoing training for technicians to learn the newest information available. Doctors make no secret about researching strange issues, running tests, and conferring with other doctors to come up with a diagnosis. Technicians do the same, because we want to get it right.
That Some Repairs are Optional or Have Workarounds
This isn’t a secret. We try to give our customers options all the time to best suit their needs. We often let customers choose between 2 or 3 options on a repair. We will tell you which repairs can wait until the budget allows, and which are major safety issues. We have also told customers when a new vehicle is a better option than fixing their current one. Why? Because it is the right thing to do, and sometimes, just because it’s time to let go of that old Pacer. It still isn’t cool.
How Your Car Works
We post blog entries and articles all the time helping to explain to you how your car works. We want you to understand what we are doing to your vehicle and why we are doing it. Quality repair can be expensive, and you deserve to understand what you get for your money. Listen to our service managers talk to customers, and you will hear them explain how clutch linings work in a transmission, or see them show a customer the actual problem on the car and how we found it. We are proud of what we do, and enjoy explaining our labor of love. Sometimes we want to explain more than you care about, because we love cars. It’s okay to tell us to shut up if you get bored hearing about the differences between the 1996 A-Code engine and the 1997.5 H-Code engine.
That We Lied
Honesty is our number one policy. We don’t ever charge customers for things we didn’t do. We are always happy to show you the new part we are installing compared to the failed part. Not only does that prove we did what we said, it also helps you understand what we did and why. We are also more than happy to take you out to your vehicle and show you exactly what we are doing if you would like. We believe customers deserve honesty, even if it means admitting we were wrong on occasion, or that we secretly loved that boy band song that was playing in your car when we pulled it into the shop.