One of the challenges with driving for work in any respect is that you put a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle, and because of that, it is vital that you have a mechanic in which you can 100% trust.
If you have a great mechanic, it can almost feel like a cake walk to get what you need to get done and back on the road. If you have a bad mechanic, which is kind of rare, they can take way too long to repair your car, costing you valuable hours on the road.
If you have a untrustworthy mechanic however, this will not only cost you time, but you can end up being overcharged for things and the longevity of your vehicle will be compromised costing you more time and money in the long term!
So in order to help save you a crazy amount of money, I am going over some tell tale signs that are important for you to know if your mechanic is not trustworthy and some points on how to find a good and honest mechanic.
Before that though, My name is Joseph Mandracchia, I have been working full-time with the gig economy since 2018 and have completed over 7900 orders and deliveries across several different platforms and pay models.
It is my hope to impart some of my knowledge and experience unto you to help you in your pursuit of success within your side hustle and helping you make the most money possible!
Disclaimer: I am not a financial, tax or legal advisor of any kind. I am not giving you financial, tax or legal advice. I am simply expressing what I have done to overcome in this area and hoping you can find a take away for yourself within this article.
One More Important Point
This is a touchy subject for me to talk about, because my goal is never to "expose" people or speak poorly of other people and I find that you can end up speaking poorly of good people without realizing it.
So while I am writing this article please understand I am never speaking of any one specific person or people when I write this, I am simply giving you some signs to look for when you think you may not be able to trust your mechanic.
Tell Tale Signs of an Untrustworthy Mechanic
How do you really know if your mechanic is trustworthy though? If you knew enough about cars you would trust them yourself right? That's why you went to him in the first place.
Well let's go over some tell tale signs that your mechanic is not trustworthy and talk about some tests you can give him if you need to be sure. After that I will give you some good points to show that your mechanic is someone you can trust.
When Your Routine Repair Turns into Something Else without your Approval
So every now and then your car needs a few things done to it, oil changes, tires, new lights etc. So it is to be expected to have to bring the car in for those reasons.
However, if you bring it in for an oil change and they call you saying "hey we looked at the car and it needs (blah blah blah)" or even worse "hey we changed your oil and did this, that and the other thing so it is an extra (insert price here)".
It's one thing to attempt an upsell, that makes sense from a business perspective and quite honestly, I appreciate the ambition to a point. As far as making repairs you were not assigned to repair, that is an absolute dirt bag and I hope he goes out of business.
That cost me an extra $1000 when I needed a new transmission because they broke the axel and needed to buy a new one, and they screwed that one up too.
Your final total should not be a surprise to you. If they didn't account for tax in your estimate, that's one thing, but it shouldn't shoot up by that much under any circumstances.
You Did Not Receive an Estimate from Them
Every mechanic who has been around the block a bit will give you ball park answer to what a type of repair will cost. Even if they have to take a second to do the math to give you an accurate answer.
Like I said, your final bill should never be a surprise to you and if you didn't get a starting point and a simple estimate, just go to a different guy, don't subject yourself to being blindsided.
Now with that said, if they do give you an estimate and it ends up being on the high end of what an estimated price would be online, or even higher, look into getting a second opinion.
Most people don't do this because they want to save time and just "get it done", which I understand especially as someone who drives for work a lot and requires my own vehicle.
Although, in the long term it costs them more money and more time because you are working with the wrong people.
If they follow up with trying to manipulate you into keeping it there and not getting another set of eyes on it, just remain respectful "thank you for your opinion" and take it elsewhere.
The Customer Service Approach or Lack Thereof
When someone provides any service, whether its fixing a car or delivering an order, you need to have an approach that focuses on the customer.
If a service of any kind focuses strictly on making money or maintaining your position, you will make choices that end up hurting others for the sake of your own interests.
When mechanics give you an answer and doesn't give you an alternative option on how to fix the problem, it isn't a good sign of trustworthiness. Good mechanics know there is always an alternative option.
Now there are cases where in the long term there is only one good fix, but maybe they can get you a cheaper part or maybe they give you a better day to achieve a faster result than leaving it overnight.
If you offer a thought and they say "ehh" and repeat their way and that's it, I would get a second opinion. Some may give you a hard time over it, just be ready to say "thank you, I'll still be getting a second opinion". and they will probably leave you alone.
They Don't Own Their Mistakes
If a mechanic makes a mistake on your car to where it affects the vehicle later, the mechanic might take responsibility and take the car, fix what he has to fix and that is the end of it.
If they don't take responsibility or find a way to wiggle their way out of it, they should never touch your car again. I lost too much money to dirt bags like this.
They Aren't Willing to Show You What They are Doing
So if your mechanic is secretive about how they are working on your car, even when you ask about it, this is a major sign of either sabotage of your vehicle, or making attempts to overcharge you by doing work you don't need done.
I have has an alternator problem with one of my cars one time and the mechanic I brought the car to messed with it in such a way that I needed to "have it fixed" every other month and that alone cost me thousands of dollars per visit.
I asked if they can show me and I got the "it's complicated" routine, "we don't allow customers in the shop." and my personal favorite "I don't have time to explain it to you if I am going to have it done by today!"
Now other shops like to "fix the issue" by replacing the whole thing or in my experience, throw parts at the problem until it goes away and hand you the bill. This is incredibly costly and most dealerships actually do this a lot.
Choosing a Good Mechanic
Now that we have gone over the tell tale signs of a mechanic not being trustworthy as a person, let's go over some important points that can help you in finding a great mechanic for yourself.
This is not just something you should look for as a gig worker but as a human being, this is also important for anyone who needs to find an high quality and honest mechanic.
An ASE certification, otherwise know as Automotive Service Excellence certification is something that mechanics are able to earn by going through some knowledge tests and having at least two years of relevant experience under their belt.
This is usually a great sign that the mechanic is someone who is well versed in how vehicles operate and how to fix them. That being said, just because they know how to do something doesn't mean they will do the right thing by you.
Always be ready to meet the mechanic, and get to know them.
There are many ways you can get to know someone's reputation when it comes to the work they do. Especially with the age of the internet where you can find anything on Google somewhere.
Some places you can check are:
4 Road Service
Now there are plenty of other sites that can allow you to see their reputation, and with that said, I would advise to make sure you don't have to pay to use their services.
While you can argue that you can get more info that way and more accurate info in some areas, that doesn't mean it is necessary.
You can find out everything you need to know from any of these review sites. However, one of the best ways to find a great mechanic is to ask a friend or family member for a reference. Also make sure your mechanic knows that you were referred by them.
If he believes that he can lose multiple customers by messing with you in the wrong way, he will do right by you.
When I say affiliations, I am not referring to personal affiliations I am referring to what organizations and sources do they have displayed that can add to their credibility.
For example, you can look for AAA Approved Auto Repair Sign (AAR) which would likely be displayed in their shop. AAR shops are closely monitored for customer satisfaction and performance.
You can also look for the ASE logo on the mechanics uniform as well, which can save you some time in online research. ASE also monitors performance and satisfaction.
One more that I noticed in a shop in New York was a plaque on the wall from the Better Business Bureau, any kind of honor or award of this nature serves as a level of social proof that they have earned the respect of a higher authority.
While that last one might be a bit subjective to the award itself, it is something I had found impressive with a mechanic up North.
A mechanic that knows how to explain to a customer what they need to do to a vehicle is something I have found to be a certain amount of impressive, from a teaching stand point.
Customers usually bring their car to a mechanic because they don't know the first thing about cars, let alone the ability to actually fix it. They want to bring it in and have it done and that's the end of it.
So if a mechanic can show you in a way that can be taught to a customer, that is a great sign that your mechanic is well versed in his craft. I would be careful with a couple of things though, which is kind of deep but I feel is important to know.
A wise man in my life once said "if the enemy can't stop you from fighting, they will have you fight the wrong fight." So if you ask to show you what they are doing, they can potentially show you what sounds like the right move, but isn't.
This goes back to what we were saying before about the customer service approach, where you say what you think and they just go "ehh" and just repeat what they said. Just remember to trust your gut, if it feels shady just walk away, and get another opinion.
The other part of this is that if he can teach it to a customer, he can teach it to a student, and that's awesome and I am always excited to see someone shadowing an expert, however there can be more mistakes if someone who isn't an expert yet is working on your car.
For this, I would just say be patient, trust your mechanic, and if there is a mistake, bring it to him and ask him that the issue that you asked to be completed the last time is completed this time. An honest mechanic will have it done, and won't charge you for the mistake he made.
This is actually more like client service because of how a mechanic should be someone you stick with for the long term, though the point remains that how they treat you, as a customer focused mechanic, you should get what you asked for.
My mechanic now is someone I work with on a monthly basis for how often I drive, and for good reason. He is willing to look into any problem I have, he knows my car inside and out and I couldn't be more thankful for him.
He will always call me for whatever issue the car has, he is willing to set me up where I just bring it in, it is the first car up and out, and he knows I drive a lot for work so he is willing to work with my schedule as best he can!
He is also always looking to get me the most cost efficient option possible so I am not being overcharged for anything, and he always asks me for potential options for what I am looking for as someone using their services and I always appreciate him for that.
So in short, look for someone like that!
While some of these things are signs that help or hurt a mechanics case in whether or not they are trustworthy, doesn't mean they aren't. Nothing is truly definitive, and people will always be people.
Just remember that you should always trust your gut on trust and if it doesn't feel right, walk away.
With that said, thank you so much for taking the time to read this article! I hope you found some value in what you read here and you can apply this information to your life your success in this gig economy!