Elly Ruge at Cowichan Auto Repair has a few tips to help you build a better relationship with your mechanic. (Photo: Mark Margerison)
Mechanics are human and cars are complex, yet a little kindness goes a long way
Reprinted from the Cowichan Valley Citizen, Sept. 28, 2020.
How well do you get along with your mechanic? Are you honest, nervous, happy or hostile?
Elly at Cowichan Auto Repair has a few tips to help build a better relationship and get better service.
“Just remember mechanics are human and cars are complex,” Elly says. Building a stronger relationship will save you time and money, and keep your car running smoothly!
- Communication: The more you tell your mechanic, the better they’ll be able to help you. “When you visit your doctor with a stomach ache it’s important to mention the shrimp you ate last night, and the same is true for your mechanic,” Elly says. Give your mechanic a thorough description of the problem, including when it started. “When you don’t tell us everything, the repair can end up costing more.”
- Availability: Provide a reliable contact number, and be sure to answer your calls! “Once your mechanic diagnoses the problem they’ll reach out to you with pictures, an explanation and a quote before they go ahead with the repair,” Elly says. If you’re not available your car will sit at the shop waiting for your approval. Being on time for your appointment helps your mechanic too — at Cowichan Auto Repair most vehicles are dropped off when the shop opens at 8 a.m., and are picked up at 4:30 p.m. If you drop your car off at noon, it’s unlikely to be done by the end of the day.
- Build trust: “The automotive industry has some unpolished, disputable characters, however many mechanics are diligent, ethical and responsible people,” Elly says. “Honest mistakes do happen because some problems are hard to diagnose, yet it’s important to remember that auto repair shops rely on good word of mouth and repeat customers to stay in business, so your mechanic will try to do the job right.” Build trust with your mechanic by treating them with respect, and controlling your emotions. Give them space to do their job! Remember, by law, customers cannot be in a service bay. If a new problem arises two weeks after your last repair, don’t jump to conclusions. “Ask politely if the problem is related to the last repair. It happens occasionally, however in our experience it’s very rare. Most cars have more than one issue that needs attention.”
- Tidy your vehicle: “Not only is this a common courtesy, it can also speed up the repair job,” Elly says. Do a quick cleanup of garbage and personal items, as the mechanic may need to remove seats and other panels to access repair points.
“Appreciate your mechanic and he or she will do a great job for you and your car. And if you enjoyed your experience, a ‘coffee card’ never goes out of style!”
Visit Cowichan Auto Repair at 5275 Trans-Canada Highway/Chaster Road in Duncan. Call 778-422-3100 for an appointment, or visit cowichanautorepair.com.