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Get smart about your car servicing

Kaylia Payne

Feel foolish when visiting the mechanic? Kaylia Payne discovers how to get smart about car servicing. Guaranteed no ‘mansplaining’!

Many moons ago I wrote this article about dealing with mechanics. Quite a lot has changed since then, namely that I am now well versed in changing oil, and do in fact know the make and model of the car I drive. On a good day, I may even remember my registration number without having to run to my car to check; however, I have never been able to shake the discomfort I feel when it comes to getting my car serviced.

I never know what to say or ask, and I’m forever wondering if I have just been seriously ripped off (a driving stick can get over-motored…right?).

I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. The reason for this is because many of us simply don’t know enough about cars, and deep down, most of us are a little worried that we are going to look foolish and get overcharged during trips to the mechanic.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When I was asked to write a piece about car-servicing — given my lack of knowledge in regards to all things ‘car’ — I was understandably terrified. However, as Trea Murphy from Autoco says, “We don’t expect you to know your vehicle or what it needs because that’s our speciality.”

So with this in mind, I decided to trust the experts and handed my car over to the team at Autoco last Thursday, and I’m glad I did. The team worked hard to ensure that I was kept informed of all issues at all times, and I never felt like I was being spoken down to or made a fool of simply because I am not a trained mechanic myself. I also appreciated being prompted to ask the right questions – which began with the booking process itself, where I was asked whether I needed a Log Book service (which they can quote for over the phone).

One thing that many don’t know, and I didn’t realise myself until a short while ago, is that you don’t need to go to the dealership to get a Log Book service on your car. As Trea explains:

“A lot of mechanics, like Autoco, are certified to complete Log Book services. For example, if your dealership advises you that you have to service your vehicle with them to maintain your three-year warranty, that is not correct. Your warranty will be honoured if anyone completes all of the Log Book servicing specified on your vehicle.”

The arrangements regarding drop off and pick up times were also sorted off the bat, which made organising my work life around the service that much easier.

When it came time to drop off my trusty car, the mechanic and I got down to business, and talked concerns and expectations. My questions were answered before I could ask them, and I was told that I would receive a phone-call as soon as the service was done, as well as in the event that something additional needed to be fixed.

At midday I received a phone call to let me know that the brakes were almost worn through. I have standard set of questions I ask when faced with additional repairs, including whether the repairs can wait and how long for; if the car is unsafe to drive as is; and whether it will cost more or affect another part of the car if it isn’t fixed that day.

While I often have to ask a barrage of questions in order to get all of the information I need, this time I was told exactly what was wrong in clear terms, without being made to feel like I was being talked down or ‘mansplained’ to.

I was then given an estimate of how long I could leave it before it really needed to be seen to, before being asked whether I would prefer to have it done then or leave it until the next service, mitigating any pressure I felt to have it fixed right away.

On this occasion, I was more than happy with the information and quote provided, and after giving the green light my car was ready a few hours later. The invoice I received when I picked up my car was exactly what was agreed upon over the phone (this hasn’t always been the case in the past), and I felt happy knowing that I had gotten the issue seen to early, thus preventing huge bills later down the line.

I still know zilch about cars, but for the first time I’m starting to feel as if that isn’t going to prevent me from getting good service at the mechanics.

No matter where you go, it’s important to feel like you can trust the mechanic; if you have any doubts, ask around before you book in or agree to additional costs. At the end of the day, even if you don’t know the make and model of your own car, you are a paying customer and you do deserve the customer service that you expect and receive everywhere else.

Five tips for getting the most out of your mechanic

KNOW THE FACTS

You don’t need to go back to the dealership where you bought your car for servicing. A lot of mechanics, like Autoco, are certified to complete Log Book services. Your warranty will be honoured if anyone completes all of the Log Book servicing specified on your vehicle.

ASK QUESTIONS

It’s important when booking to let your service centre know exactly what it is you need done, especially if you have any concerns about something in your vehicle and even more so if you have a strict timeframe in which you need to drop you car off and pick it up. As great as it would be if they could, mechanics, just like everyone else, cannot read minds.

TALK IT OVER

It’s important to chat to the mechanic when you hand your car over, both to reiterate any special requirements you have, as well as to give further detail if there is anything in particular that you are concerned about with your car.

KNOW WHAT YOU’RE AGREEING TO

Always check to make sure your service centre will call with a quote if additional repairs are required.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

If you’re not satisfied with the information you receive about additional repairs, there’s no harm in phoning around before you commit to anything.

Find your nearest Autoco dealership here.

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Kaylia Payne

Kaylia is a career-student who is currently doing her MA in Writing and Literature. A student/office assistant by day and a blogger by night, she dreams of one day having a job where she doesn’t need to wear shoes to work. Read more of her fabulous work here. More about the Author

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