Having a trusted, yet affordable mechanic to take care of our mechanical workhorses is probably as important as a having a trusted bulk-billed family doctor who isn’t also on the shadow-y payroll of big pharma. It may be a broad brushstroke, but many of us living in Tarneit may belong to a salary bracket that ain’t the brightest crayon in the box. Given a better roll of the dice, a fair number of us might prefer to live closer to the 3000 postcode.
Unfortunately, the trifecta of words honest, affordable and mechanic can be more often than not, mutually exclusive – a challenging ask. Mechanics may not realise this, but they are doctors for our cars. That is how I see them. But from my admittedly limited experience, they seldom return that favour. Their hourly labour rate is close to what some doctors earn, sans the transparency and customer service.
Getting ‘a cashflow outrage of modesty‘ by a dodgy mechanic can have a crippling impact on one’s well-being. This, compounded with the fact that cars can sit in workshops for days completely neglecting the fact that many of us in Tarneit have young families to shuttle around… So, how do we ensure that we walk out from visits to workshops with a healthy vehicle, and wallet too?
Talk the talk: Here’s a list of useful terms when dealing with Mechanics AKA Automotive Service Technicians (a contemporary semantic upgrade for the word ‘Mechanic’?).
Five Dos And Don’ts When Dealing With An Auto Mechanic [Forbes, June 18, 2012]
Backfire: A gunshot-like sound that comes from the engine or tailpipe.
Bottoming: Excessive noise or harshness that’s usually felt through the steering wheel or passenger compartment when going over bumps.
Bucking: This is felt when the engine hesitates or the transmission slips as it changes gears and the vehicle lurches.
Dieseling: What occurs when an engine continues to burn fuel and runs briefly after the car has been switched off.
Hesitation: A brief loss of power upon acceleration.
Knocking: Also known as “detonation,” this is a rapid rattling that’s heard upon acceleration.
Misfire: Hesitation that occurs when fuel in one or more of an engine’s cylinders fails to ignite properly.
Shimmy: A side-to-side motion that can be felt through the tires and/or steering wheel.
Sluggish: How a car feels when it’s not accelerating smoothly or strongly enough.
Surge: A sudden, usually upward, change in the engine’s speed.
Source – Forbes, June 18, 2012
Additionally, here are some more useful resources:
How To Not Get Ripped Off By Your Mechanic [Gizmodo.com.au, March 18, 2013]
Simple things to help make sure you get a fair deal from mechanics [News.com.au, May 11, 2013]
How to Deal With Your Mechanic [ABC News, September 27, 2010]
Today: how to handle a dishonest mechanic. [Car Talk, July 1, 2009]
13+ things your car mechanic won’t tell you -Slideshow [Readers’ Digest, Not Dated]