The Most Common Conflicts between Auto Mechanics and Customers

  • Price changes. Price increases can result from many legitimate causes. For instance, a shop looks up in a labor guidebook the labor hours required to replace a water pump. On this particular model car from 1995 through 2002 the guidebook allows for three hours to complete the job, and the shop will give you an estimate or a price quote accordingly. But a problem might arise, such as if one of the bolts holding the water pump on your vehicle snaps due to corrosion and fusion while the mechanic is trying to release it. Now this three-hour job turns into a twelve-hour job because the engine has to be lifted out to access and remove the one broken bolt, due to no fault of the mechanic (as it would have been if he had overtightened (over-torqued) it on its installation). The bolt snapped because its integrity was compromised due to age and corrosion. This would not have happened on the same model car, same engine but on a newer vehicle.

The consumer needs to understand that his or her vehicle is a machine that is subject to many potential problems. Issues that present themselves during a repair can only be resolved through close communication and understanding. Consumers should not jump to the conclusion that they are being ripped off. If a situation changes, there must be a reason for the change, and you are entitled to an explanation that satisfies you.

Mechanics and Customers The Most Common Conflicts between Auto Mechanics and Customers

Everything is negotiable. If discussing the situation leaves you and the repair shop at odds with each other, maybe a compromise can be reached. Splitting the difference between the estimated time and the actual time might leave both parties less offended.

  • Grease on the steering wheel or carpet. Take some precautions yourself and cover your seat and carpets to protect them.
  • Personal property or change is now missing from the vehicle. Do not leave any valuables in the vehicle.
  • The repair did not solve the problem. For example, your car has a hard time starting. The mechanic checks the car and determines that it has not had a tune-up in a long time. (Check the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.) He recommends one, stating it might help. He tunes it up but the car is still hard to start. You’re upset because you the consumer just spent $125 or so and are left with the same problem.

From the mechanic’s standpoint, it is essential for the engine to have a strong and effective ignition and fuel system, among other things, in order for the car to start and run properly. He must do this basic repair in order to move to the next phase, if necessary. The tune-up may not have solved the difficult starting problem, but it was a needed and necessary step in the repair process. What is important here is that the mechanic communicates to you that the tune-up is necessary, regardless of anything else, and that it may or may not solve the starting problem.

Mechanics and Customers.1 The Most Common Conflicts between Auto Mechanics and Customers

There are many repair scenarios where this type of conflict may arise. Taking the time to communicate and confirm with each other the details of the repair in advance will give both the consumer and the service facility a clear understanding of what is to be expected. Keep in mind that one bad meal at your favorite restaurant does not mean that you should never return. One negative experience at a repair shop does not necessarily constitute that the shop should be blackballed.


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Filed Under: Car Tuning


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