5 things not to say to a professional mechanic

There are all sorts of reasons that customers browse our online car salvage auctions here at RAW2K, but they can be an especially good place to snap up a bargain on your next personal motor, and getting it roadworthy again might just take a few quick and simple repairs. If you’re a professional mechanic or dealer, as many of our customers are, you might be able to get that done using nothing more than your personal tools and expertise. 

However, if you’re not in the industry, you might need some professional help. If so, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are a few things that mechanics absolutely don’t want to hear when you bring them your car. We’ve collected the top five!

I tried to fix it myself

Even though modern cars are far more complex than they used to be, many mechanics  will remember the experience of working on a car that customers have tried to fix themselves. Frequently, it’s a scenario in which nobody really ends up happy. The mechanic usually has to go to extra effort and time not just to diagnose the initial issue, but also work out whether the customer’s repair job has had any unforeseen ramifications, and deal with those if necessary. That generally results in extra cost for the customer, who is rarely thrilled at the news. It’s partially for this reason that some mechanics will actually refuse to finish a job that a driver has started themselves, if they think it might be too risky or expensive to do so. 

I bought the parts myself

Today, you don’t necessarily need to be a professional mechanic to get your hands on certain car parts - they’re freely available from sites all over the internet. At first glance, it can seem like a great way to save yourself some money. However, you’ll probably find there’s a pretty big problem at the garage - most reputable mechanics will refuse to fit them. 

This is because they can’t independently vouch for the safety or quality of these parts, and from the moment you employ them to work on your car, they become at least partially responsible for your safety. The vast majority of mechanics will only fit parts which are OEM quality, meaning they’ve been sourced from verified, reputable suppliers - so best case scenario, you’ll be at least a few pounds out of pocket, as you’ll have to buy the brand new parts through the mechanic anyway. 

I know exactly what the problem is

This is another thing that modern mechanics hear increasingly often in the internet age. Today, an almost limitless trove of articles, videos and how-to guides can help educate casual automotive enthusiasts on the basics of how their vehicles work - and they can be fantastically useful as an educational tool. However, bear in mind that even the most well-researched of articles is no match for the expert standing right in front of you, giving you his considered professional opinion on your individual problem. Don’t dictate or argue with your mechanic based on something you’ve seen online - trust them to do their job. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t give them helpful information, based on what you think the problem might be - this can sometimes provide the mechanic with a helpful jumping-off point when they start work. But there’s a big difference between giving them your opinion, and outright dictating it. In other words, by all means tell them what you think the problem may be, but be prepared to be completely wrong!

Just do what needs to be done

A prime example of an unwise thing to say to a mechanic, not least because their idea of the bare minimum may differ from yours, and disagreements can arise once the bill arrives. Even if you’re on the same page, it’s still not a good idea to only have them do the bare minimum of work on your car unless you literally don’t have the money for anything else. Bear in mind that having them do the bare minimum means that they might then miss (or skip) over repairs that could ultimately require you to pay them another visit in the near future anyway. 

If you’re really worried about budget, what’s often a good alternative is to ask your mechanic to check back with you if they find any additional issues, so that you can give them specific approval to fix them. Often, it’s best to let them get on with the repairs anyway, but it can help you manage your own expectations, so that you’re still in control and don’t have to worry about any nasty surprises when the bill comes back. 

Can you come down on the price at all?

It’s not something you ask of your doctor, or your electrician, or any other service provider, so why would you ask it of your mechanic? Their prices aren’t set arbitrarily - they’ll be accounting for their own overheads, staff, labour, and of course the quality of their expertise. We’ve already covered how the profession seems to have a reputation problem, but it’s important to remember that mechanics rely on repeat business, and have to keep their prices competitive to stay in business. Overcharging you is not only ethically dubious, but actually really bad for business, and the vast majority just won’t do it.

Plus, don’t forget that the initial price isn’t everything. Some mechanics might charge half the price of others, but take three times as long to do the job - making the more expensive garage the more economical choice in the long run. Rather than ask your mechanic if they can come down on the price, instead you can ask them what the price includes, and they’ll usually be happy to tell you. If you’re still not keen or you think you can get a better price elsewhere, you’re free to walk away - but haggling with them on their rates often isn’t just pointless, it’s downright disrespectful. 

Happily, it’s not always such a minefield trying to get the best price where cars are concerned. You can save hundreds or even thousands with our online car auctions right here at RAW2K, so you’ve got plenty of options whether you’re looking for a new personal motor, or a fixer-upper that you can sell on for profit. Our auctions are refreshed on a daily and weekly basis, so why not take a look around, and see what you can find?