If you are unfamiliar with the work a mechanic should be performing, it can be easy to blindly trust them. There are a few red flags that you can watch for that can help you determine if the mechanic you are working with is an amateur or the real deal. Keep reading to find out what these experienced motorists recommend.
Mark Beneke

Mark Beneke

Mark Beneke, Co-owner of two buy-here-pay-here used car dealerships, Westland Auto Sales.

Three Signs of An Amateur Mechanic

Here are three signs of an amateur mechanic:

1. Diagnosis speed. When they perform a diagnostic, amateur mechanics are not thorough with their recommendation. They cannot explain what they are suggesting be done or why it needs to be done.

For example: The check engine light is on and after scanning it they determine it is a sensor that needs to be replaced. This is throwing a dart and hoping it hits. A good mechanic will scan the vehicle and then test the sensor. If the sensor is reading well, they will test the wiring around it to determine if it is bad wiring or other potential problems before making a suggestion.

2. Cleanliness. Look at how clean they maintain their uniform, tools, and overall work environment. Someone that cares about this is going to care just as much about your vehicles and will not cut corners.

3. Certification. An ASE certificate will ensure that you are dealing with someone skilled. They had to go through testing to obtain their certification, which weeds out the amateurs.

Can’t Provide Thorough Explanations

If a mechanic can describe what they’re doing, you can tell they know what they’re doing. Be careful to inquire what exactly needs to be done and why when you take your automobile to the shop. It’s much better if you can get a hands-on tour.

This is especially important since your auto insurance may not cover repairs if your mechanic is not wise enough to fix the actual problem or fix it accurately.

The same applies if your mechanic recommends additional service. They should be able to walk you through the process of doing what they are recommending.

Additionally, the mechanic should be able to offer alternative solutions to most problems. They should be able to explain the alternative clearly and what it entails. If your technician can’t explain why you need a service or can’t make things clear, you should be wary.

Imani Francies

Imani Francies

Imani Francies is a vehicle expert with AutoInsurance.org.
Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane,CEO of ToolsGaloreHQ.com and an Electrical Engineer by profession.

Unregistered Mechanics

Always ensure that the mechanic is registered with the Automotive Services Association, which is a nonprofit organization nationally recognized in the USA to regulate the work and quality of mechanics. If a mechanic is not registered or does not actively maintain their registration with this national body, you run the risk that you are dealing with an amateur or unprofessional mechanic.

Lack of Communication

It’s part of a mechanic’s job to tell you if there are more problems with your vehicle than what you had it serviced for. An honest and professional mechanic will get in touch with you and inform you first, especially if there are any additional parts or repair costs so that you can figure out how you want to proceed. It’s very unprofessional for a mechanic to just do the work without asking for your consent.

Matthew Paxton

Matthew Paxton

Matthew Paxton, Founder of Hypernia.
David King

David King

David King, Owner of Chicago Landscaping Services.

Don’t Provide Details

Some of the telltale signs that you are working with an inexperienced or an amateur mechanic are that they don’t explain the repair in detail. People like me go to a mechanic because we are unable to fix the car ourselves. It makes me feel better when the mechanic tells me why I was hearing that “noise” and what was causing it as well as what he or she is going to do to fix it. I don’t understand all of it ever, but it makes me feel like I’m in good hands when they go over all the details of what it takes to fix it. Sure, it doesn’t work all the time, but the majority of the time it tells me that this person knows what they are doing!

Uncertified and Unorganized

Certification
Each province has an Apprenticeship and Trades governing body that oversees the certification for any trade. The mechanic you are dealing with should have a certificate from the relevant governing body, such as the Automotive Service Excellence Certificate.

The absence of such a certificate tells you that you are dealing with an amateur or unprofessional mechanic.

Tools
The tool kit that a professional mechanic has can be extensive and can include hundreds or even thousands of tools. The mechanic would neatly arrange these tools for easy availability due to their large number.

If the mechanic you are dealing with only has a few tools and they do not arrange it neatly, it is a sign that you are dealing with an amateur or unprofessional mechanic.

Hilda Wong

Hilda Wong

Hilda Wong, Founder of Content Dog.

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