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Why Should You Get to Know Your Mechanic?

January 1, 1970

Your Vehicle is a Big Investment

When it comes to auto repair, regardless of whether you take your vehicle to a huge dealership or a small, independent mechanic, leaving one of your most valued possessions in the care of a stranger can be somewhat unsettling.This is just one of the many reasons why you should build a relationship with your mechanic.The person that you trust to repair the intricate systems of your automobile is more than just a tool to be pulled out and put to work whenever something breaks. Today’s automotive technicians are more educated, skilled, equipped and capable than ever before.

Your Mechanic, Your Neighbor

The very best mechanics, like our team at Auto Lab, are vibrant and creative individuals who realize that customers like you are also their neighbors in the surrounding community. Maintaining and repairing your vehicles with honesty and integrity is their top priority. Coming in a very close second is getting the job done right the first time with the very best parts and a level of workmanship that is unparallelled in the industry.Getting to know your mechanic and all the staff at your repair facility will allow you to discover that you have a great deal in common with these people. You will likely find that your children and grandchildren attend the same schools, your relatives are members of the same churches, and you might even learn that you share some of the same hobbies. It never hurts to find some “common ground” with the person (or people) that you trust to care for what some folks consider a major investment.

Get to Know the Facility Too

Before attempting to navigate through any auto repair facility, observe safety warning signs. Some shops carry insurance that prohibits customers entering certain areas. When in doubt, return to the customer convenience area and ask a shop employee if you may enter the work area. If you are allowed to enter the work area unescorted, pay attention to moving vehicles and other parts. Avoid spills on the floor (if present) and sparks or flame. If cutting or welding is taking place, never look directly into the arc.Now, let’s take a look at the typical staff-members of a repair facility and examine how to best familiarize yourself with them, professionally.

Meet the Facility Owner, Maybe Have Lunch

Depending upon the facility, the owner may be a mechanic. The owner may take on the role of service manager/service advisor. The owner may also depend upon someone else to handle day-to-day activities, while they are active in some other capacity, retired, or working elsewhere. It varies between facilities.Small independent repair facilities usually have a working owner who is involved in both automobile repair and customer relations. Getting to know this type of owner can be as simple as striking up a conversation. If you are not allowed to walk through the work area, simply call the owner over (or have them paged to the customer convenience area) and introduce yourself. At this point, look for eye contact and attitude. If the individual looks you in the eye as you communicate, it is an indication of honesty. The owner’s attitude will tell you how quickly matters will escalate in the unlikely event that there is a disagreement in the future.Remember that this type of owner is usually very busy and moves rapidly from one task to the next. It’s a safe bet to assume that most shop personnel will stop to eat lunch near the middle of the day. Invite the owner out for a quick bite and you might even make a new friend.

Service Manager/Service Advisor

Shop owners who work off site or stay busy with other endeavors, often hire a service manager and/or service advisors for customer relations. Because these individuals are employed as a liaison between the customers and the mechanics, you may want to get to know them instead. It's a good idea to treat these individuals as you would the owner of the facility.More importantly, the service manager/service advisor translates your vehicle complaints to the technician. By taking a few moments to become familiar with this individual (and allow them to become familiar with you), you begin the process of understanding one another’s facial expressions, speech patterns, and body language.If you get to know this person well enough, you may be able to walk into the facility and discern whether it is a very busy day, a frustrating day or a slow day. By the same token, as the individual becomes better acquainted with you, they can tell where your vehicle repair priorities lie. They may be able to discern the seriousness of the vehicle complaint by the manner in which you describe it to them. A stranger will not be able to do that.

Your Auto Technician

The auto technician, or mechanic, is the person who physically repairs your vehicle. There will be times when access to this individual is difficult. Because the mechanic physically repairs your vehicle, s/he can frequently be greasy as can the areas in which repairs are performed. We recommend scheduling a time to introduce yourself to the mechanic. This gives the individual an opportunity to clean up a bit before a meet and greet. As with the shop owner, lunch may be your best bet to get to know your mechanic (or get to know them better). If you are using a family or a one-man repair facility, the mechanic may take on all the roles mentioned.

Building Relationships Can Save You Down the Road

Getting to know the people who repair your vehicles can be profitable in many ways. As a shop owner and mechanic for more than four-decades, I have found that many of the customers that I am most familiar with, trust me with all their automotive needs.Loyal customers often call my shop to get our recommendations. More often than not, these customers get a better repair at a fair price because of the relationships that we have forged over the years.

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