10 Important Questions to Ask Your Mechanic
Word on the street is that one of the population’s least favorite things to do is take their car in for service. Crazy right? It doesn’t have to be a big hassle or annoyance if you learn the right questions to ask before a car service appointment. The best way to receive peace of mind is to be in the know.
Do you specialize in my car's make?
Before you even make an appointment, call the service center and see if they are equipped to service your make and model. If they say no, you just saved over an hour of your time and your sanity. Side note - Pep Boys is equipped to handle any and every make and model vehicle.
Are you ASE Certified?
ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence and is an independent, non-profit organization that has been working to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service since 1972 by testing and certifying vehicle repair and service mechanics. This should be notated on the shop’s website (if they have one). It’s safe to assume that bigger corporations, like Pep Boys, feature ASE-certified technicians, but the smaller local shops may not.
Can I have a written estimate
Always, always ask to have a written estimate before you have work done on your car. Especially in cases that aren’t a routine check-up that you signed off on. This way, a mechanic will have to call you to see if it’s okay to perform more work on your car than you previously agreed to.
What is the warranty on your parts & labor?
There’s a chance that some of your car’s parts have a warranty, especially if this specific part was recently repaired or your car is brand new. Once you know what is wrong with your car, be sure to inquire about warranties you may have or signed up for in the past.
My car has symptom X, what is wrong with it?
Diagnosing an issue is easier when you have all of the information - does the noise/problem/issue happen at start up, while driving or when stopping? Make mental notes of when you hear of feel the problem and relay that information to the mechanic. For example, if a problem only happens when you first get in your car in the morning, but it’s ok the rest of the day, the mechanic may need to keep the car overnight to replicate the problem. You can never give too much information. One or two symptoms versus a combination of symptoms can make a huge difference to your car’s potential diagnosis by the mechanic.
What repairs are absolutely necessary?
Even though some repairs may not be considered necessary at the time, there are many scheduled maintenance items, such as brake fluid exchanges, coolant exchanges, air filter or cabin filter replacements, that need to be replaced based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. These can all be found in your owner’s manual or the team at Pep Boys can print these out for you, if needed. Though they may not feel necessary at the time, long-term delaying of these may cause costlier repairs down the line.
Can you show me what is wrong?
Any shop worth its salt will not only allow, but encourage you to learn more about your car. If you are in our store and want to see what is being done to your car feel free to ask any service associate and once you are supplied with safety glasses, they will be happy to show you exactly what is being done to your car.
When will the repairs be done?
The answer to this question can sometimes be tricky. The smartest thing you can do is to ask if the repairs or service job will take over an hour. This way you know to ask a friend or family member to carpool with you, so that you’re not stuck waiting for hours for your car to be ready.
What repairs or scheduled maintenance do I have coming up?
Each car has a different maintenance schedule. At certain mile markers, a multitude of parts need to be checked and/or replaced. Ask the service center when you should come back for your next check. This way you can help avoid having any potential service issues in the future.
Will I receive a complete report?
After every service session, there should be a write up that explains the break-down of costs and what was done to your vehicle. Always make sure to look this over before you pay, so that you can ensure everything is right before you leave.