If you have ever sent a steak back to the kitchen because it was over cooked only to have the replacement sirloin come back looking like the uncooked ones in the display case, you understand why it’s not always good to upset the person in charge.
Like a restaurant’s kitchen the repair floor of an auto repair facility can get quite tense. First, everyone expects their vehicle back the same day regardless of the behind the scenes drama. This may include wrong or defective parts being delivered or the need for a special tool that no one can put their hands on. And unfortunately sometimes “You don’t know what you don’t know.” (Donald Rumsfeld 05-22-2002).
So here are some tips that might prevent your mechanic’s temperament gauge to rise and his head gasket to blow.
Be reasonable –
Don’t arrive late and ask that your car be done early. Have an appreciation for just how complex a machine you are driving. When dropping off your vehicle with a problem you must realize that there are many systems and subsystems that might be causing your car to be under performing. Often times multiple failures across various components are involved which makes diagnosis very difficult and the repair process even more so.
Do some housekeeping –
Removing trash from your car prior to a car repair visit can go a long way to setting the stage for a successful repair. Your technician gauges how well you value your car by the condition in which you bring it in for repairs. It’s like walking into someone’s living room for the first time and getting a greater sense of who they are. Also remember that depending on the repair, your technician may be lying down on your car’s floor. Also make sure your vehicle is road ready by checking tire pressure and fixing obvious minor issues will go a log way towards keeping the peace when you go back to pickup after repairs.
Make a complete list –
A good deal of thought goes into how the work on your car is undertaken; you might say that it is planned by the assigned technician. The decisions are based on what equipment and tools are needed, what position the vehicle needs to be in for the various maintenance or repair procedures which are being performed and what jobs are related to each other. So it is disturbing for a car owner to add the rotation of tires after previously asking for just the brakes to be checked. In this case, the wheels were off for the brake check and the added request means that the job must be done twice.
Be available for consultation –
Everything stops at a repair shop while the decision maker is contacted to approve work or be informed of the options that are available. If you will not be immediately available due to a meeting at work it is good to mention this when dropping the car off since it may determine the order in which the work on your car is started. If you trust your repair shop it might be good to establish thresholds at which you would like to be contacted thus avoiding this problem. Caution – avoid terms like “a lot of money” or “gets expensive” when setting triggers for your approval, since a “lot of money” to you might seem like “pocket change” to your mechanic.
Save the inspection for your driveway –
I realize that the idea that you are not entitled to immediately inspect work performed on your own vehicle is totally indefensible. But watching a car owner raise a hood prior to driving away sends signals of distrust to the repair facility. If you have doubts or want to use this opportunity to educate yourself about your car, ask that a knowledgeable staff member point out the replacement parts or systems involved in your repair. File this one under “M” for manners.
It is rare that customers are advised about how to act at a business. But the hope is that a relationship will evolve between you and those who service your car, these tips are meant to facilitate this goal by giving you the view from the other side of the counter.
Source: Personal Experience