For a lot of us, our car is an important part of our daily life. For business or pleasure, we’ll trust it to get us from A-to-B time after time. But ask us how it all works under the bonnet and many won’t know even the most basic maintenance tasks. So, it’s no wonder that we’ll often call on a professional garage or mechanic to get our cars back up, running and out on the road.
As a nation, the UK spends billions on servicing and repairing our cars each year. But how often could we be over-paying for fixes and repairs we don’t actually need or want? If you don’t know a chassis from a carburettor, it’s all too easy to take a mechanic’s word at face value. You could be leaving yourself open to an unnecessarily expensive bill, however, if you aren’t careful.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to avoid any nasty surprises.
Research your mechanic choices
If you haven’t yet built up a relationship with a garage or mechanic you can trust, where should you take your car? There’s no shortage of choice and a quick internet search will return a list of potential candidates. But don’t rush into picking the first name. To help make your choice, read some reviews and see what other motorists think of your options. You can also ask different garages to quote you for a repair, saving you time and effort in choosing the best value option.
After all, nothing is better than an independent word of mouth recommendation.
Do some of the legwork yourself
It can be tempting to leave it all to the garage and accept that it’ll cost what it costs. Yet, there are savings to be made by doing some of the legwork yourself. You’re more likely to get a good deal on cheap tyres, windscreen wiper blades or engine oil by buying these yourself. You’ll have to pay for them to be fitted – but you do avoid a garage’s mark-up on their preferred suppliers.
Is it really an ‘essential’ service?
It’s not uncommon for some mechanics to earn a commission on certain upsells when you take your car into a garage. You could find, therefore, that your straightforward repair job somehow ends up with two or three more unexpected fixes. It’s not necessarily bad that a mechanic may flag up possible work that needs doing – but you can always ask if the extras are essential.
As long as your car is still roadworthy without them, there’s no need to pay to have them done.
The cost of running a car is high enough for most drivers without the added expense of a repair you don’t need or parts that you’ve overpaid for. While you might not know all the ins and outs of your vehicle, you’re still right to question anything you’re not sure of. And by taking some of the steps above, you can avoid any nasty shocks when your ideal car is taken in for repair.