Mechanic Advisor

5 Things Your Mechanic Won't Say To Your Face

Posted October 08, 2014 by Ken Kupchik

Everyone has had good and bad experiences with an auto mechanic. If you're going to see an automotive mechanic, chances are that something went wrong with your car and you're not too happy about it. Like going to the doctor, no one really wants to do it. Mechanics are like auto doctors, but with a lot less money and prestige. We wanted to present the mechanic's perspective on customer interaction in the hope that it will help the process of repairing your car go a little more smoothly. Here are 5 thing mechanics want you to know but are too afraid to say:

1) Explain the car's symptoms, not the diagnosis - When bringing your car in to get repaired, state what the problem is (i.e. there's a vibration coming from the front right tire). Don't attempt to diagnose the problem yourself and then order the mechanic to perform work. Mechanics are trained to search for and diagnose problems and will go through the appropriate steps to determine the issue. If you order a mechanic to do work without allowing them to diagnose the problem, you could be hurting yourself by misidentifying the problem and creating unnecessary and costly work for the mechanic.

2) Not every mechanic is dishonest and sleazy - In addition to dealing with customers who are stressed out and upset because their vehicle isn't working properly, mechanics have to constantly combat the stigma that's attached to their profession. People tend to view mechanics as dishonest and oftentimes treat them accordingly. This is quite unfair to mechanics. Most are hardworking and honest people, making a living in a difficult and often thankless profession. As with any other profession, there are a few unscrupulous and shady characters that taint the perception of everyone else. Do your due diligence when selecting a mechanic, but try not to assume that they're automatically out to get you.

3) Don't involve the whole family in your car problems -  Mechanics are in the business of fixing your car, not solving your marital problems. If the wife brings the car into the shop to get fixed, it's not the mechanic's responsibility to mediate an argument between husband and wife or father and son etc. Also, a mechanic doesn't expect to deal with multiple people when it comes to fixing a car so if the timing belt needs to be replaced, a mechanic's time is better spent replacing the belt and not explaining the problem to every single member of the family. A good rule of thumb is a two household members per car maximum involved in dealing in the repair of the vehicle.

4) Don't follow the mechanic into the work area of the shop unless invited -  Unless the mechanic invites you into the work area of the shop to show you what's wrong with your vehicle, or you ask (and get) permission beforehand, it's not smart or safe to just walk in. There are numerous safety hazards in the shop that have the potential to hurt you or worse. And from the mechanic's perspective, they're opening themselves up to tremendous liability, and potentially breaking the law if you walk into the designated work area.

5) Don't automatically expect a free diagnosis - While many shops will offer free diagnoses of car problems, don't assume that's always the case. Mechanics have to make a living like everyone else, and a problem that can't be discovered in a few minutes by the naked eye can be time consuming, costing the mechanic time and money. If you're unsure whether or not the mechanic will be charging for a diagnosis, ask beforehand so that there isn't any confusion and no surprising charges. If the shop is professional, they won't have any problem at all explaining any diagnostic fees.

Thank you to Audobahn Imports for helping us come up with this list. is one of the largest online mechanic resources in the US. We are the premier website for consumers to research and connect with reputable local mechanics for routine and specialty automotive repair. Our website features instructional videos, articles about maintaining your car, and detailed profiles of over 500,000 mechanics across the country. If you're a shop owner, please claim your shop page for free here