Who is your auto mechanic? (MONDAY, SEPT 16,2013) PG 20

Vehicles needs proper       checks and maintenance by qualified mechanicsVehicles needs proper checks and maintenance by qualified mechanicsMy childhood friend called me last Saturday to complain about how his mechanic had messed up his gear box and had since been running away from him.

The sweet-tongue artisan had managed to squeeze quite a substantial amount of money from him, only to fall on excuses when my friend went for his car which had been in the workshop for the past two months.

Apparently, his car had been putting up the attitude of abnormal jerky movements while changing gears and safety conscious as he was; he had gone to the mechanic to deal with the malfunction.

Two months down the line, he is still chasing the mechanic for his car which cannot even roar to life, let alone breath.

“This guy has demobilise me. Now I depend on taxis and sometimes trotro to move around, when I have car sitting in his workshop. I don’t know what I’ll do to him, if I get hold of him. It’s not fair. Why couldn’t he tell me he couldn’t handle it,” he fumed on the phone.

Apart from a sympathetic ear, I could only console him and urge him to tow the vehicle to another workshop and report the mechanic to the police.

Many people are victims of these circumstances because of the calibre of mechanics they depend on to service their vehicles.

An auto mechanic is like a wizard when it comes to your car’s constant presence on the road. They can be as significant to the life of your car as a doctor is to your life. Whether you have a jalopy or a new vehicle, a good auto repair mechanic that takes good care of you and your car is worth their weight in gold.

Car parts and labour can be dear when you are getting your car fixed, so you want to make sure that you get the best deal that you can. You also want to be sure that the auto mechanic you use is honest and reliable.

Problems with auto mechanics

In some cases you might find mechanics who want to make a little extra money and they may cut corners at the garage. This means that they may create more problems for an unsuspecting car owner by replacing a bad part with a used part.

Although this is illegal, some mechanics do this so that the owner will have to bring the car back again for the problem to be fixed.

If a garage is known for doing something like this, word will get around. Sometimes an owner will tell mechanics to do this in order to make more money. If you find out that a shop has the reputation for these types of activities, it is not a good idea to go to that shop.


While certification is not a requirement of mechanics, it demonstrates a sense of motivation and ambition to both employers and customers. Certification also ensures that the mechanic is up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques in the industry.

Finding the right mechanic

Ask for estimates

A good way to get a car repair quote is to take your car to a service centre that gives free estimates. Once you have one quote, you can call around to other auto repair workshops to find a comparable quote. If the quotes are pretty much the same you know that you are getting a fair quote.

Contact specialists

Just as you would not send your dental problems to a gynaecologist, it is always better to find a competent mechanic and not a quack. Make sure that the automotive mechanic who is going to work on your car has experience in your make and model.

Ask for references

Always ask for references from the auto repair centre and from specific mechanics. Tell them you want to build a relationship with a reputable automotive mechanic and you want to talk to a few people about the quality of their work. If they deny this opportunity, think twice about working with this shop.

Be assertive
A good auto mechanic will be more than happy to give you references of people who were satisfied with their work. If the mechanic has been in the shop for years and they refuse to give you references, ask the manager if someone else can work on your car. If not, you may want to go to a different car repair centre.

Ask your neighbours and colleagues for help.

Your friends and neighbours can be the best choice for advice on where to get the best auto repair in the area. As an example, if you have someone who has the same car make and model that you do, it is a good idea to have the same person work on yours because they know the car well.
Qualities of a good mechanic

Client service skills

Great mechanics are able to relate well to customers. They are able to communicate effectively with them and put them at ease about the diagnosis and repair suggestions.

Communication skills

A good mechanic has excellent communication skills and is able to translate complex technical jargon into plain English for the average customer.

Diagnostic skills

A great auto mechanic is able to quickly identify the source of a problem and other related issues. He is aware of diagnostic resources and takes advantage of them as necessary.

Problem-solving skills

Good mechanics can quickly suggest possible ways of addressing problems. They should be able to find the best solution in a limited amount of time.

Solid work ethic

A great mechanic has a solid work ethic. He is committed to quickly solving and repairing problems and is honest with customers.

Strong technical aptitude

Mechanics should be able to use a variety of technical tools to diagnose and address a wide variety of vehicular problems.

Up-to-date technology

Vehicles and technology are continually evolving, and great mechanics stay on top of these changes so they can best serve their customers. As hybrids become more popular, for example, mechanics will be knowledgeable on the most common problems or what could be the most common problems.


Mechanics interested in advancing in the profession have savvy leadership skills and are able to take charge when situations warrant. 


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