I don’t think that anyone can argue the fact that it costs money to bring your car to a mechanic. We all can agree that the auto industry is full of stereotypes, everyone from sales to mechanics, no one is safe. 😉 So what can the customers to do get the most from their service folks? I put together a list of things that will make life a little easier, and save some money along the way. Most of these tips are better used when your car is having an issue, not for just standard maintenance.
- If you are bringing your car in for an issue, not just maintenance, call and make an appointment. Walking in for an oil change is no big deal, but I don’t recommend it when dealing with diagnosis. Give your mechanic and service advisor a heads up that you have a problem
Drop Your Car Off
- I talked about waiting vs dropping your car off before. I highly recommend dropping your car off when dealing with issues beyond maintenance. It gives your mechanic time to fully dive into the problems. The longer most customers wait, the more pressure there is to fix a car. I don’t like rushing through diagnosis. It can lead to missing something, or misdiagnosing problems.
Make a List
- If your car has more than one thing going on, write down what they are. People tend to get in a rush, so write down what you need to tell your mechanic. This can also save another trip back to the dealer.
- This just might be the most important thing on the whole list. The what, where, when, how, and how often of an issue are so important. If the check engine light is on, that is not a big deal, I will find the problem. Paying close attention to when a problem occurs is vital information for a mechanic. Be as specific as possible, too much info is way better than not enough.
Have a “Guy”
- I of course mean have a mechanic. I do not mean that as a man either. 😉 Try and find a mechanic that will be yours! Always take your car to them. Doing that will build a relationship between you, your car, and your mechanic. Your mechanic will not have to question if maintenance has been done or not, they will already know.
Here is a situation where the list is not followed. This customer has a rattle in their car. Here is what NOT to do.
Customer just shows up to a shop they have never been before. The customer tells the advisor, “I have a rattle”. When the advisor asks follow up questions, the customer does not have any answer.
The mechanic drives the car, and does not hear anything out of the ordinary. Customer gets the car back, they are mad because the mechanic could not find anything. On the drive home, the car starts rattling again. The customer never goes back because they feel like they got ripped off.
These are the things that customers should do to make getting their car fixed easier, and hopefully cheaper. Let me give you a situation on how this list can work for you.
Customer calls and makes an appointment with their mechanic.(for the story we will call him Charles). The customer says, “Charles, I need to bring my car in. It is making a funny sound”. I would say, “Ok, write down when it happens, and what you do to make it happen. Also write down the time of day, and how long you have been driving”
The customer then drops their car off with a list of things that are wrong, in addition to that list, they have documented all the information I need to duplicate the rattle. I spend the time to find the rattle, and fix it. Customer and mechanic are happy!
See the difference? Getting the best possible service is about 90% the job of your service department. But as customers, we have to play a part too! Having good information can be the difference between happy everyone, or sad everyone. I would love to hear what you guys think! When you post a comment, be sure to click the box that says “notify comments via email” that way you will know when someone makes a comment. Also, consider signing up for email updates for the site. I wont spam you I promise!
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