Need a Mechanic? Automotive Advice for Single Moms (and Everyone Else)
Ever feel like a mechanic is just horsing around with your car? Maybe he knows what he is doing and identified the problem within a few minutes.
Buy by poking around under the hood for an extra 10-15 minutes he can charge and extra 20-50%. After all, you don’t know what those diagnostics say or mean.
Finding a great mechanic is like finding your soul mate – don’t expect to replace them if the relationship just doesn’t work out. Seriously.
I loved my Audi. It was a fun car to drive. Sporty with tons of power and control but not over the top where I looked like I was trying to race through the Malibu Canyons. After all, there was a car seat in the back for many years.
Makes for real sexy momma driving when the teddy bear has his head out the window catching the wind in his fur.
But that car had some issues. And those issues seemed to know the day that the warranty had expired.
How to Find a Good Mechanic
A good mechanic and a cheap mechanic are not the same thing and there is no correlation to quality and cost. Meaning, you can pay a lot for a lousy mechanic or find an amazing one who is reasonable.
Some great places to seek out good mechanics are:
If you are searching for a mechanic, ask the cable company driver who is always fixing your cable (because nothing works as it should) where they take their fleet vans and trucks. Pretty much anyone company with a fleet is a good place to start inquiring about a good mechanic.
Worry about price later. Get a list of good ones first.
Another place to check with your insurance agent. Ask who is on their approved repair list. AAA also has an Approved Auto Repair Network. These mechanics go through extreme vetting and must maintain high standards of quality and customer service to remain on the lists as insurance carrier vendors.
Definitely find out who your local agent uses.
Look for the ASE Certified Master Technicians when looking for mechanics. This is a designation that means they are trained extensively on diagnostics and all those crazy new electronics that new cars have. Did you realize that some new windshields have sensors that could tell you the temperature on Mars?
They really don’t, but they are seriously high tech and cost thousands to repair and replace.
Determining Costs and Negotiating
Get ready to negotiate. It might seem like a fruitless endeavor, but you are a strong woman who gets things done. Shady mechanic tricks start with getting under the hood and trying to tell you there’s more to the repair than there really is.
It could mean replacing more parts or the hours of labor involved. Get the quote in writing and start Googling girl! Check prices of auto parts online. If you can, take that quote down the street to choice number 2 and see what he has to say about the same issue.
You don’t need to be an expert to be savvy. You might not know what a high-velocity intake barotolocimeter is because I just made that up. Shady mechanic tricks include making up new parts, new diagnostic issues. Guess what, all that is a few cell phone clicks away.
Let your fingers do the negotiating via smartphone.
Ask for the Single Mom Discount
Don’t be shameful. If you had a husband or any man doing the negotiating for you, chances are you’d already have started 20% lower in price. Play whatever card you can because you’re sitting there being called Honey, Sweety and Dear as if your being a single woman means you instantly fodder for mansplaining and sexist comments.
My Audi had been in the shop three times in the past 12 months. It wasn’t an old car nor did it have a ton of mileage on it. But somehow my fan kept breaking to the point of charcoaling my car’s internal hose system. Seriously fire hazard and never did a warning light come on until I was stuck on the freeway.
I was on my second mechanic. This one came from a friend’s recommendation. He’d dutifully show me the charred car parts. I swear it looked like my car lit up the 405 with flames. It would only be another $2700… or more.
It’s that or more that gets you. I quickly ran an Edmonds value via my smartphone.
“Take it off life support. Pull the plug.” My Audi was going to die.
My mechanic nodded his head. He understood that you can’t just keep pouring money into a car. “I tell you what. I’ll give you $1,800 for it. My cousin will buy it after I fix it.”
Seriously, that was the game. Make it impossible for me to afford to fix it so he can turn a profit from his cousin who has told him to keep an eye out for certain cars. You have to love networking.
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Are There Any Female Friendly Mechanics?
AskPatty.com actually certifies mechanics to work with women in an honest, easy-to-understand way. Being certified Female Friendly means that your mechanic has sought to be better at communicating what is going on with that beast of a car you call Bill.
There are actually more and more women getting into automotive repair. While that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best service or results, it does give us hope that more women can find someone who understands where another woman is coming from.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Learn a few things about your car. You don’t need to be an expert or be able to do the work. But you’ll feel less anxiety about walking into a mechanic’s shop if you have some basic information.
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