Auto Repair Frequently Asked Questions
What is the nature of the work That needs to be done?
This is the first question you should ask. Make sure that the mechanic gives you a complete diagnosis. There should be a work order detailing all the necessary repairs and all the parts that will be needed. This work order may have notes about future work your vehicle may need.
Do these repairs need to be done immediately or can they wait?
Sometimes mechanics will tell you that you need repairs immediately. This may or may not be the case. Ask about the nature of the problem and find out whether it is serious or something minor that can wait. You should never wait too long to fix a problem. But if you are low on funds and the problem isn't serious, you may be able to wait a few weeks until you can afford to have the work done.
How long will the work take?
How long the work takes depends on the size of the job; some work can take a few days or longer. If your vehicle needs a lot of work or needs something big worked on, ask how long it will take. If it will take a few days, look into getting a rental car.
How Much Will the Total Bill Be?
Make sure you get an estimate before agreeing to have any work done on your vehicle. This is one of the most important auto repair questions you can ask. Get a quote in writing, including the cost of labor. That way, you can't be charged for anything else, including additional labor, unless you have authorized it. Don't forget to check the quote for any hidden costs and, if you find any, ask about them.
Do you offer a warranty on parts?
If you will spend a lot of money on parts, make sure the mechanic offers a warranty on parts and labor. It is important that your auto repair questions include asking about this before you have any work done or before any parts are ordered.
Should I get a second opinion?
Ask a mechanic with no skin in the game for a second opinion. There are many places online where you can ask an experienced mechanic if the estimate received seems fair and makes sense. Not only can you find experienced technicians online but you can find people that specialize in Brands or type of problem. You can post questions in Manufacturer forums and do basic searches looking for drivers that are dealing with the same problem on the same car. A second opinion from an online mechanic might cost a few dollars. It depends on the situation and the speed at which you need an answer. In either case it's a good investment in getting the vehicle fixed right the first time.
Knowing what you need to ask a mechanic can give you a better chance at getting complex problems fixed on the first visit. Force the shop to take ownership of the repair by asking them to stand behind their diagnosis fixing the complaint.
Drivers need to be proactive and aggressive with auto repairs not shy. Do some research to see if other people are experiencing the same problem on the same type of car. Take advantage of the Internet and get a second or even third opinion from manufacturer forums and online mechanics that answer questions for the general public.