Mechanic Advisor

What Your Mechanic Isn't Allowed To Tell You

Posted October 16, 2014 by Ken Kupchik

Mechanics have a lot that they want to say to their customers, but oftentimes they can't either because they risk losing their job, or because they don't want to offend their customers by being especially direct. We've come up with some things a mechanic wants to tell their customers, but really can't. Let us know if you think of anything else in the comments section below. 

1) The hourly labor rate isn't just the time spent under the actual car - There is a lot more involved in working on a car than just the time spent physically wrenching it. Techs need to search for the correct parts, and then search for the best price for those parts. Additionally, some experienced techs can finish jobs quicker than others, and some techs may take longer to complete a job, but the cost to you will remain unchanged, which can be a good or a bad thing, but it's certainly standard across the industry. 

2) You're paying a markup on parts - Mechanics make their money on both parts and labor. There is a lot of overhead when it comes to running a shop; salaries, insurance, rent and utilities, it adds up quickly. Mechanic shops need to stay in business and make money by charging you for labor as well as a higher price on parts than what they pay through distributors, who are also in business to make money. Different shops will mark up parts differently, with some opting for higher margins on parts, and hourly labor charges, and some choosing the opposite. While many shops are willing to install parts that you purchased yourself, there are many who will refuse to do it. One mechanic we spoke with compared it to bringing your own eggs to a restaurant and asking them to make you breakfast.

3) I work very hard for not much reward -  As we've mentioned before, "mechanic" was named one of the top 5 most regretted jobs by The hours are long, the job wears your body down, the tools are expensive, the pay is low, and the overall experience can be very stressful. Add to that the lack of room for advancement, and many people automatically thinking you're going to take advantage of them and the average mechanic is putting up with a lot, physically, mentally, and emotionally for not much reward. There are many easier jobs out there, but for most mechanics, despite the drawbacks, they could never be as passionate about anything else.

4) Please don't tell me how to do my job - Explain the car's symptoms to a mechanic, not the diagnosis, especially when you're asking them to find out what the problem is. Don't tell them what your "friend who knows a lot about cars" told you the problem was. Explain the car's symptoms to the mechanic and allow them to perform their own diagnosis based on your explanation. When you go to the doctor, you explain the symptoms to them so that they can make the proper diagnosis, right? How would your doctor look at you if you told him that your "friend who knows a lot about the human body" told you that rash on your chest was from wearing too much polyester? Exactly. 

5) I want you to be happy with my work - Despite the challenges that many mechanics have to go through on a regular basis, everyone looks for meaning in their life and mechanics are no exception. They want to be proud of the work they do and a good mechanic likes nothing more than the satisfaction of taking a broken part and replacing it with a correctly functioning one so that you can get to work on time, or safely bring your children to school. Working in weather that can go from freezing to blisteringly hot, wearing out their backs, tearing up their hands and breathing in fumes to fix cars is not an easy task, but there is no mechanic out there that doesn't feel a sense of pride when a job goes smoothly, or when he or she is able to figure out a complex problem. Without mechanics, we'd all be stuck in one place. 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