Sometimes getting your car fixed right the first time can be challenging. Multiple trips can happen for even those with highly skilled and trusted mechanics on retainer.
As a soon to be retired mechanic I will share an excellent secret with you. There are several things you can do to increase your chances of getting the auto repairs you need without having to return to the shop multiple times.
When it comes to maintenance or straightforward repairs like brake jobs and oil changes a single trip to the auto shop is a reasonable expectation. However, when it comes to intermittent car problems that seem to come and go, the shop might need more time.
This applies to any automobile issues where more complicated diagnosis is necessary. In these situations multiple trips are often required to nail down the root cause. In an effort to reduce the down time of the automobile, communication with the mechanic that will actually work on the vehicle is critical.
Many auto repair shops put a service writer in-between you and the mechanic. This is done for several reasons. Just to mention a few, many technicians work on a commission based pay plan.
They need to work on cars as much as possible to make money. Talking to a customer, for a flat rate mechanic, is an unproductive moment when they're not making money.
Another reason is a service writer has time to chat with the customer and establish a relationship that can help sell additional auto services as well as build customer loyalty with that particular repair center.
Most service writers have a green or outgoing personality. However, some mechanics might have a more introverted personality and aren't as comfortable with communicating with the paying customers.
Now that you know why the mechanic may not want to talk to you about your automotive problems, it's time for you as a paying customer, to push hard for this communication.
In my opinion the best way to get a complicated automotive repair or diagnoses completed correctly on the first trip is to ride with the mechanic.
I'm talking about getting in the car and physically driving with the person that will work on your vehicle. Some people are not comfortable riding around with a mechanic or even a complete stranger in the car. It can be an uncomfortable situation for even the most social of people.
The mechanic doesn't want to ride with you either for the reasons that I stated above. In my opinion, as a mechanic, when I take a ride with a customer we bond.
It may even make me want to fix their car more then someone I never met. A person's face is now attached to the vehicle I will be working on. Even the most mean and cold mechanics I've met feel the same way about customers they have road tested with.
Even more important than the mechanic now having a bond with the customer is an opportunity for the mechanic to see exactly what the customer is complaining about.
No matter how good a service writer is at his job there's still an opportunity for miscommunication between him and the customer or him and the mechanic.
Keep in mind if you have an intermittent problem and want the car fixed right, a ride with the mechanic could be longer than either one of you expected or wanted. Tipping them during the road test in these situations might help smooth over this uncomfortable ride.
I've talked to auto repair consumers that complain about having to go back to the same shop to have the same problem looked at multiple times.
Some told me that they put off the return trip, because it seemed hopeless. When I asked them how many times they road tested with the mechanic and showed the problem directly to the technician, the answer is usually zero.
If you want to get your car fixed right the first time and you have a complicated or intermittent problem, take the time and push hard for a road test. You're the paying customer and you should be important enough to the business that they will accommodate your wishes.
Sometimes an automobile shop will not let this happen or the mechanic will say that it's not needed. In this case I would seriously consider finding another shop that has the time. Always have a back up shop on retainer for second opinions and to keep both businesses honest. Share this car fixed right page with a friend having car problems.
I have another site that is directed more towards driveway mechanics and
do it yourself auto repairs. This would be a good place to go if you
are looking for car repair help.
Near the bottom on the next page you can take advantage of the no charge eBook I wrote that contains about 67 more pages of tips that can help you get a car fixed right the first time.
See what other kinds of automobile related information is available on the auto-facts.org website. Also find out how to suggest new sections to be added to this car questions website.