Top Questions to Ask Your Mechanic

It’s never fun when you notice something is wrong with your vehicle. You’re driving along and you hear an odd noise, smell a peculiar odor, feel vibrations in the steering wheel, or the check engine light turns on. Car problems throw a wrench into your day and cut into your limited free time. But if something is really wrong with your car, you have to take care of it as soon as possible. Whether your vehicle needs a tune up, routine maintenance, or a major repair, you’ll need a trained mechanic to look at it. But how do you find the right mechanic to work on your car? How can you be sure they know what they’re talking about and that they won’t rip you off? Start by asking the these questions.

Have you worked on my specific make and model of car before?

Before you even make an appointment with an auto mechanic, you should call the service center to make sure they’re equipped to handle your make and model. If they say no, then you have just saved yourself a lot of wasted time and effort. At HEART Certified Auto Care, we are equipped to handle any make or model of vehicle.

What automotive associations does this repair shop belong to?

The largest organization for auto repair businesses is the Automotive Service Association, which requires that its members adhere to industry regulations and the association’s code of ethics. AAA is another organization that puts repair shops through a review process to ensure they meet industry and customer service standards before they’ll recommend them to AAA members. You may also want to ask if they are ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified. ASE is a non-profit organization that has been working to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service since 1972 by testing and certifying vehicle repair and service mechanics.

Can I have a written estimate for free?

Check to see if the diagnostics exam of your vehicle to find out what is wrong and the report that estimates the cost to fix it is free or not. If it’s not free, be sure to ask how they are going to charge you. Either way, you should always request a written estimate before you have work done on your car.

My car has X symptoms, what is your recommended repair?

Be sure to let the mechanic know what the symptoms of your car’s problem are and any abnormal things you have noticed. This information makes diagnosing an issue much easier and more efficient for the repair shop. You can never give too much information.

Can you explain the details of the repairs?

You want to make sure the auto mechanic can tell you in plain, easy to understand terms, what needs to be done and why. When you comprehend the reasons behind the repairs, you will be able to ask more informed follow-up questions and have a better grasp on the entire process.

What repairs are absolutely necessary and which ones are not?

Even though some repairs may not be considered necessary at the time, there are many scheduled maintenance items, such as brake fluid exchanges, coolant exchanges, air filter, or cabin filter replacements, that need to be replaced based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask which repairs you need to do right now and which ones wouldn’t cause harm if you wait.

Can you show me what is wrong?

Any reputable car service center will encourage you to ask about repairs and learn more about your vehicle. Whether they let you come back and let you take a look or, like HEART Certified Auto Care, they show you photos of the repair process along the way, you should know what’s going on with your vehicle.

What kind of warranties do you offer?

Most care repair shops will give certain guarantees on products and services they provide, but warranties vary greatly from shop to shop. Before the car repair shop begins work on your car, ask them about warranty options. Shops that are confident in their mechanics and the services they perform will usually provide guarantees. HEART Certified Auto Care offers a 2 year/24,000 mile warranty.

What repairs or scheduled maintenance do I have coming up?

Every car has a different recommended maintenance schedule. At certain mile markers, various components need to be checked, changed, or replaced. Ask your service center when you should come back for your next check. This way you can help avoid having any potential service issues in the future. At HEART Certified Auto Care, we want to make sure you stay in the know and are never in the dark about what we are doing with your vehicle. Bring your vehicle into HEART Wilmette, HEART Evanston, or HEART Northbrook and we will answer any questions you have about your car and the repairs we are completing.