Cars nowadays are a necessity, rather than a mere convenience. Having a car also means near total freedom to go where you want, when you want. However, owning a car can be a high cost investment. Whether new or used, all cars need daily upkeep, maintenance, and repairs. Regular checks ensure that your car is working properly. Most car owners can do a good job of daily upkeep however when it comes to maintenance and repairs, lack the knowledge and skills necessary.

Thus, spending money on mechanics is the best option for most. It’s important to know how to choose and deal with car mechanics, since some mechanics take advantage of car owners. Mechanics are well-aware that most people are uneducated about their cars and sometimes, trick their clients into overpaying for services that they don’t really need.

Luckily, you don’t need to become a car expert to guarantee honest service. You just need to know the right questions to ask for good service at a fair price. Before we get into these questions, we’ll go over some simple maintenance tasks that you can do on your own to save money on the car mechanic…

Do-It-Yourself Car Maintenance

It’s common knowledge among car owners that regular maintenance greatly reduces the cost of major repairs in the long run. Car performance is also maintained and accidents are less likely, since things are working as they should.

Regular maintenance includes checking the status of fluids, oil, tire pressure, brakes, and the engine filter. Car owners can learn how to do these checks on their own and then take corrective action if need-be. Other simple tasks include, replacing headlights, windshield wipers, and blown fuses. YouTube offers many how-to videos for free.

Learning the basics of car maintenance saves owners time and money. Just be careful with do-it-yourself repairs because some car insurance policies won’t cover repairs unless performed by a licensed mechanic. If it’s your first time performing a repair, go slow and pay attention to detail. Otherwise, accidents may occur that can harm you and your car. Also, do your research before making modifications to the bodyworks, exhaust system, or wheels.

The Need for Car Mechanics

Knowledge and skills are the core reasons why car mechanics are indispensable when it comes to car repairs. Here are several reasons to visit a car mechanic:

  • If you’re unsure about what’s causing the issue, you’ll need the assessment of a car mechanic.
  • If you don’t have adequate time to learn how to fix your car by watching videos and reading instructions, then you’ll need a mechanic to get the job done. 
  • Even if you know how to do a repair, yet are pressed for time, you’ll need someone who’s an expert in their field to quickly complete the task.
  • If you’re unable to get the tools and car parts needed for the repair, then you’ll need to bring your car in for service.
  • If your warranty doesn’t cover the repair, then it’s safer to bring it to the car mechanic where you’ll be covered.

The Downside of going to an Car Mechanic

While mechanics are readily available, there’s no shortage of horror stories about auto mechanics taking advantage of their clients. In an interview with ABC, a car mechanic testified to some of his professions darkest secrets. According to Joe, mechanics are often pressured by their bosses to do unnecessary repairs for extra profit. Here’s a list of the most common tactics used by car mechanics:

  • Charging customers for more time than is needed to complete a repair job.
  • Charging fees for repairs that weren’t even made.
  • Guessing rather than problem solving to delay and charge for more time.
  • Selling unnecessary equipment.

Joe encourages car drivers to learn more about their car by reading the owner’s manual at least once.

Warning Signs That Your Auto Mechanic Is Cheating you

Car mechanics are an unavoidable part of owning a car, which is why you should learn to recognize the signs that your mechanic is trying to cheat you. Watch out for these things:

  • They’re fixing something that’s totally different from the issue raised.
  • They don’t take the time to explain the problem.
  • They suggest replacing parts that you’ve never had issues with before.
  • They tell you not to take the car anywhere else because it’s unsafe to drive.
  • They claim to have replaced parts, yet they won’t show you the originals.
  • They bring emotion into it, telling you that your car’s issues risk the lives others.

The presence of one or more of these signs is an indication that you should get a second opinion from a different car mechanic.

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Mechanic

Sometimes, you won’t see any cause for concern until the mechanic has already put a hand on your car. Asking the right questions is the most important thing. Here are our top 5 questions to ask your prospective mechanic:

1.      Have you worked on my make and model before?

This is the most important question a car owner can ask. If the mechanic has expertise in your make and model, then they’ll be less likely to make mistakes or take longer than expected to repair the car. Also, a mechanic that doesn’t specialize in your make and model is not worth pursuing.

2.      Will I be charged for diagnostics and can I get a written estimate?

It’s important to ask whether the mechanic charges for diagnostic tests. A written estimate is also helpful because it gives a clear idea of the total cost of repair. In the unfortunate event of legal action, the estimate provides a basis of the final amount.

3.      Are the parts and labor covered under warranty? 

A good mechanic provides warranties and is more likely to be honest with their clients.

4.      Can I see the problem?

It’s not unusual for a concerned car owner to ask about the car’s problem. A mechanic that shows you where the problem is and gives you a well-founded explanation is more likely to take your best interests to heart. Any mechanic doesn’t go over the issues with you isn’t worth your business.

5.      Can you explain the details of the repair?

Asking a mechanic about the repairs is a good way to determine if they’re competent enough to do the work. Ethical mechanics can explain repairs in a way that you’ll be able understand. If you feel totally lost in their explanation, there’s a good chance that they’re lost too.

These questions should help you find a mechanic that’s trustworthy. In addition to asking these questions, you should always go with your gut. A mechanic that’s able to answer of all your questions, yet leaves you with a bad gut feeling, is not worth your time or money. When you feel good about a mechanic, you’re probably right.  


Not everyone has the time to become an expert on the cars they use, which is why mechanics are an essential part of owning a car. It’s important to be wary of the trickery involved in car repair however it’s also important to remember that there are good mechanics out there. State regulations also enforce ethical practices on most car mechanics.