As a car owner, unless you do your own servicing and repairs, you will doubtless have to pay a mechanic to maintain your vehicle for you. Mechanics typically work for car service centres or “garages”, and some even come out to you at your home or place of work.
Unfortunately, some mechanics do a pretty bad job of maintaining your car, and you could end up having to pay someone else to fix their mistakes.
To give you a recent example, my wife had her car serviced by a well-known independent dealership. One of the mechanics there damaged the thread to the sump (the oil pan that sits underneath the engine), resulting in a slow oil leak.
Because they refused to admit liability, she now has to pay a main dealer a lot of money to fit a new replacement sump to the engine. Such problems are often hard to prove as it’s a case of “your word against theirs.”
She will obviously not be using the “original” mechanics for any future repair work. But how can you tell if your mechanic is an idiot and isn’t to be trusted with your pride and joy? Here are some telltale signs to help you find out!
Lack of knowledge
A lot of people think that you need to have a university diploma to become a mechanic, but the truth is people only become mechanics by signing up with a service centre or dealership as an apprentice.
These apprentices get trained on the job, and whilst they are only given basic tasks to complete on their own, the poorer-quality service centres usually let them loose on most jobs.
But what is even more shocking is that “trained” mechanics that are no longer employed as apprentices can often have less knowledge than apprentices learning “on the job,” so to speak!
My mechanic buddy Darryl from Lifestyle Ford once told me that he went for a job interview at a back-street car service centre.
One of the so-called mechanics at that back-street place couldn’t identify whether the car they were working on was fuel-injected or had a carburettor – even though the fuel injector rail was clearly visible at the top of the engine, and the car itself was manufactured in 2009!
Poor attention to detail
Most of the time, mechanics have to disconnect or remove some parts in order to access others in the engine bay.
You can often tell that your mechanic is an idiot if they can’t even be bothered to check that everything they put back in your engine is connected properly!
When I was waiting to pick my car up from a supposedly reputable car service centre, I saw a customer complain about how they left a pair of pliers on the suspension turret, and the pliers subsequently fell off when the customer was driving.
That proved to be near-fatal for that particular customer’s car because the pliers got jammed up in the cam belt. Such a lack of attention to detail resulted in expensive repair work needing to be carried out by the service centre – and at their cost.
Photo by Wonderlane.