Are you putting off getting your car serviced? You’re not alone, ladies.
Studies have shown that 22% of women are reluctant to book their car in for a service because they’re not comfortable dealing with mechanics. At the same time, a whopping 36% of us feel like we know nothing about our cars and are totally reliant on mechanics for guidance.
The truth is that male-dominated garages can be intimating spaces, especially for women. With so much car lingo flying around, it can be easy to get ripped out and end up paying too much for a car service.
Here at Stella, we want to empower you to feel confident when chatting to your mechanic, and that starts with knowing what questions to ask.
Keep reading to discover five questions to ask during your next car service according to two female motoring experts: Elise Elliot (Stella’s very own motoring expert) and Eleni Mitakos (founder of car education provider, Galmatic).
Car Service Question 1: Can I meet the mechanic?
First up, it’s always important to put a face to a name when booking a car service. While it might seem simple, meeting your mechanic in person shows them you genuinely care about your car and the service that’s being done.
This informal chat gives you an opportunity to flag any problems you’ve noticed, find out more about your mechanic and build rapport with your garage.
Plus, you can use this conversation to build your car knowledge, too. If your mechanic mentions any terms you’re not familiar with, seek clarification and get them to explain it in everyday language so you know exactly what you’re getting done.
Car Service Question 2: Do I need a basic or full service?
Not all car services are created equal. While some visits to the mechanic might involve a major service for your car, others might only involve a few minor repairs.
“A full service is far more comprehensive and includes things like an in-depth break check,” explains Stella’s motoring expert, Elise Elliot.
Plus Elise reminds us that it’s important to get everything in writing so there are no surprises or things missed along the way. It’s also a good idea to ask your mechanic to call you if any unexpected problems arise during your service so they can run you through extra costs before they’re incurred.
Eleni Mitakos, founder of Galmatic (an organisation helping Australian women and teenagers feel confident and comfortable when popping the bonnet of their car) echoes these comments, encouraging you to find out what’s included in your service upfront.
“Know exactly what your service includes and if it differs, tell them you want to be contacted. Otherwise, you could be hit will an unexpected bill that you’re not sure about,” explains Eleni.
Car Service Question 3: Can I see the problem and can you explain what needs to be done?
This is a great way to find out if there is a genuine problem with your car and can help you prevent your mechanic from ripping you off.
If there is something that really needs to be fixed or repaired, your mechanic should be open and happy to show it to you. Make sure to find out what parts are affected, what needs to be done and how much it will cost so you’re across your options every step of the way.
If you’re not convinced by the answer you’re getting, Elise recommends getting a second opinion from another mechanic. Getting another set of eyes on your wheels could save you thousands of dollars!
Car Service Question 4: Can I have the warranty for the part that is being replaced?
If a part does need to be replaced, it’s important to find out if there is a warranty on these repairs. The best mechanics will offer a good warranty on the service, which can give you confidence they’re completing the job properly and to a high standard.
Plus, find out the specifics of the warranty you’ve been given. In some cases, mechanics will only offer a warranty on the replacement part, not the costs of labour itself.
Car Service Question 5: Can you provide a service plan?
To keep your wheels in the best shape possible, it’s a wise idea to develop a good relationship with your mechanic. Chat to them about setting up a service or maintenance plan that will help you keep your car in good condition and roadworthy.
This plan should help you to forecast and budget for many major services and take into account the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific car.
Hot tip: check your owner manual to see what maintenance plan is recommended and what services you should expect to book (and when).
And that’s a wrap! When it comes to visiting your mechanic, being proactive and asking the right questions is what will help you get the best deal. Don’t be afraid to shop around and get a second opinion before booking a car service to make sure you find a mechanic you trust, too.