Garages and car mechanics in general have a notoriously bad name. Whether you are after a service, an MOT or a repair, finding a good one can often feel like a lottery; is there anything can you do in order to guard yourself against being ripped off by one of the cowboys? Well, there are a few things that will get you headed in the right direction. Let’s take a look:
Selecting a garage
When you first begin your search for a decent garage there are a couple of things you can keep an eye out for. Membership to one of the Trading Standards Institute approved Codes of Conduct will give you a certain amount of peace of mind, but they do not guarantee good service.
One of the best ways to find out whether the service you receive is by word of mouth. Ask around your friends and family for a recommendation. They may be able to point you in the direction of someone they have used for years, and that is worth far more than a faceless review or trading body membership.
Prices vary dramatically from mechanic to mechanic. Garages in the same area can be vastly different in what they charge, even for standard procedures like servicing. Check out websites such as bookmygarage.com to find out about local garages in your area and compare the prices listed; it could save you a princely sum!
Before work commences
Even once you have settled on a garage and you are ready to get the ball rolling, your work is not yet complete. Now is the time to ask a few questions, not when the work is done and it’s all too late.
Check with the garage owner that your quotation includes everything and make sure there will be no hidden charges. If it makes you feel more comfortable ask for a written quotation with a full break down of costs on it, making sure that things such as VAT are on the quote too.
Another thing to check is whether or not they will be using generic or manufacture parts wherever needed. Some generic parts are substandard and should be avoided as they can often invalidate warranties should they still be in place.
After the work has been done
Once all of the work has been completed be sure to ask for a receipt and, if you are having a service performed on your car, a stamp in your service history book. This will help if you have problems with a repair that goes faulty shortly after you drive away and a full service history book will help when you come to sell your vehicle.
Spending a little time doing some research and asking around about your local garages will serve you well in the long run. All in all, finding a mechanic to look after your car shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, and once you have found one that you trust you’ll never have to go through the process again.