Cars are fun to drive and they usually put a smile on the faces of their owners. However, they breakdown sometimes which leads to disappointments, stressful visits to the mechanic workshop as well as a hole in your bank account or a financial knockout in extreme cases.
This could be an avenue for your inexperienced mechanics to exploit and leave you unsatisfied. A fact most drivers are yet to discover is they know more about their cars than an average mechanic.
These are some of the resources at our disposal which will enable us outsmart them:
1. Car Owner Manual:
This is a book or booklet that comes with all cars containing its essential information and instruction for use. Many of us neglect them till they become dusty with their vast content, which includes: Safety instructions, maintenance information, features, vehicle operational directions etc. It also tells us about the tyres, brakes, fluids, when to change the timing chain/belt and when to change the engine oil as well as the type of oil to use.
For example, a 2011 Ford Explorer started to act funny and the maintenance required light came on about a month after its first oil change in Nigeria. The mechanics serviced the vehicle again and did all they could to no avail; they were about to decouple the vehicle before we advised them to use the recommended engine oil in the manual. It was all like magic to them. The manual is a factual document from the manufacturer while some mechanics do guess work more than you could imagine. This document teaches us to be proactive in handling our cars. This will do a great deal in reducing our dependence on mechanics and ultimately reduce repair cost.
2. Inferior Parts:
Some mechanics are synonymous with inferior car parts and claim they are helping you to save cost. The cost you save today will be compounded for you at a future date. Brand new original parts are better; if you have to settle for less, make sure you buy a certified first grade tokunbo part.
3. Online community and forum:
People who have been on car forums will immediately understand and appreciate this point. There is nothing as wonderful as asking any question about your car and you get a quick response from car experts as well as other drivers who have had a similar issue. The issue with the car might just need a do it yourself fix. The knowledge you’ve gained from the forum will also enable you engage your mechanic more effectively. If varied opinions are given to you on the forum, you will have to eliminate from the least relevant. Examples of such online community are Nairaland car talk section, youtube car channels etc.
4. Routine and Scheduled Maintenance:
Do not pass the buck when it comes to the maintenance of your vehicle. Keep track of your last oil, air filter, transmission fluid and timing belt change as well as tyre rotations. You have to do some of the maintenance yourself; the mechanic may not be able to keep track of your car’s maintenance schedule because they work on several cars except you use a repair shop that has a proper system.
Always trust the car user manual more that your mechanic and consider the knowledge you have gained from forums when in serious doubt of your mechanic’s opinion. This only makes sense because manufacturer wants the best for their cars in as much as they want you to patronize them for replacement parts. Furthermore, the experience of various forum commenters cannot be over-emphasized. Run away from any mechanic you cannot trust. However, avoid being on a constant run as this could do you more harm.
Your car will treat you right if you give it the treatment it deserves. Do not say Honda cars have transmission problems when you do not use the factory recommended transmission oil grade.
Finally, be weary of mechanics that don’t have a car diagnostics scanner as they will rely solely on their instinct.
What effective strategies have you been using to counter your mechanic? Tell us in the comment section.