by Sam Dillinger (comments: 0)
Before You Visit A Mechanic: Tips For Women
There is a very widely held perception among women that they're going to be treated unfairly at their local mechanic. I’m sad to report that the auto repair industry has, by and large, earned this reputation, and not received it in error. Whether it’s being over charged for needed repairs, being charged for repairs that aren’t needed at all, or even being charged for repairs that were never done, most everyone has heard stories of a woman they know being taken advantage of at the repair shop. Ladies, I’d like to formally go on record as saying that we’re not all like that. There are some of us that take pride in taking good care of all of our customers, regardless of gender. There are technicians around that are more than happy to make sure you receive honest treatment when it’s time to have your vehicle worked on. Here are a few tips, from a professional technician, to help you find one of us that won’t take advantage of you.
1- Do Your Homework On Repair Centers Before You Need One
This might seem like pretty basic advice, but it’s very important nonetheless. When your vehicle is running smoothly, you won’t want to deal with the hassle that the repair shop represents. That’s exactly when you should be dealing with it though! Get references from any friends you may have in the area. Check the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and even the local Chamber of Commerce. Once you’ve identified a few places that come with good recommendations, it’ll be time to file that information away for when you’ll really need it. You may not have the luxury of doing all of this leg work when your car breaks down, and you'll thank yourself when you do get to that point.
2- Have Your Most Recent Service/Repair Records
This will save you a lot of time and potential hassle. If you go to the mechanic for a brake squeak, they're going to inspect all of the other systems of your vehicle to find a maintenance item, or an actual repair, to potentially sell you. It’s the nature of the industry, and this inspection should be done every time your vehicle goes to the shop for safety reasons. This inspection is how we determine if there are any safety issues that need to be addressed immediately, if something is in the process of becoming unsafe, or is wearing out to the point that it might damage additional parts, we can find that too. That doesn't mean that you need to have your brake fluid flushed every time, or that you need to have the transmission serviced every 10,000 miles. By having your most recent service records with you, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you may or may not need. Which leads me to…
3- Read Your Owners Manual Thoroughly
The information contained in your owners manual is very informative for all of the different systems of your vehicle. It has quite a lot of information that deals with much more than the maintenance your vehicle needs, but for the purpose of this conversation, that’s the part we’re focusing on. It will tell you how often any maintenance should be done to your vehicle, and what kind of maintenance is needed. A cabin air filter is a very important piece to get replaced on time (it filters the air you breathe inside the cab of your vehicle) but not all vehicles have a cabin air filter. Your owners manual will tell you if you do, and how often it should be replaced. These recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt though. If you live on a dirt road, your cabin air filter will need to be replaced sooner than the manual suggests. So when you get an estimate from your mechanic for several maintenance items, make sure to check in the owners manual to make sure thats a service your vehicle actually needs to have done.
4- Trust Your Instincts When You Talk To The Mechanic
This is a key factor when dealing with your mechanic. Ask plenty of questions and pay attention to the way the person answers them. If they treat you in a condescending fashion, attempt to re-direct your question to another topic, or try to talk over your head with a lot of highly technical terms, then it’s time to take your business elsewhere. An honest mechanic will be more than happy to spend some time educating you about your vehicle and the needs it has currently, as well as in the future. Even more that that though, your first instinct is usually right. If this person strikes you
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Meet Sam Dillinger
My name is Sam Dillinger. I've been a professional, dealership technician for 18 and a half years. My first introduction to mechanical repair was when my own vehicle broke down in the fall of 1995. I was 18 and couldn't afford to pay to have it fixed. So I borrowed tools and asked a ton of questions and, eventually, was able to replace the clutch on my truck by myself. During the course of that project, I found that I really enjoyed having a wrench in my hand and figuring out the puzzle of disassembly and reassembly of a motor vehicle.