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Auto Repair: The Top Ten Mistakes Made By Your Mechanic

Number One:

Not confirming the concern. Confirming a repair concern is a basic diagnostic principle frequently overlooked. To fix a problem, the first thing one must do is recognize it.

Number Two:

Insufficient Road Testing. The importance of a thorough road test (even for an oil change) is well documented in automotive training manuals. Yet, many technicians consider driving the vehicle into the shop good enough.

Number Three:

Misdiagnosing. For the above reasons and a multitude of others, your vehicle is misdiagnosed more often than not. Mechanics will spend hours chasing the wrong problem, wasting your time and money.

Number Four:

Throwing parts at a problem. To compensate for lack of skills, mechanics often just throw parts at the problem in the hope of getting lucky. It’s common to hear mechanics say I replaced this, this, this, and that, and the problem’s still not fixed. This goes right back to mistake number one: confirm the problem with diagnostics, then proceed.

Number Five:

Not addressing primary concerns first. Technicians often spend an inordinate amount of time looking for easy sells that will fatten their paychecks. There’s nothing wrong with this provided there’s no charge for the inspection, it doesn’t conflict with your time, and the upsell suggestions are valid (they’re frequently not). However, this type of free inspection and the subsequent upselling too often overshadows the primary concern. So…what’s wrong with my car?

Number Six:

Overconfidence. Too often unqualified technicians get in over their heads. Rather than defer to a more experienced technician or facility, they often keep going and do more harm. How’s it go…The road to hell is paved with good intentions?

Number Seven:

Taking shortcuts. In the ongoing effort to beat the clock, technicians will create a host of problems: breaking parts, snapping bolts, short circuiting sensitive electronics. Refer to Auto Repair: How Can They Screw Up an Oil Change for a great discussion.

Number Eight:

Poor Repairs. Whether through incompetence or laziness, mechanics frequently don’t do repairs correctly. It’s often sloppy work. Forgotten bolts, parts not lined up correctly, or components not re-installed properly are common. It gets worse with computer repairs: incorrect software programming, coding, and resynchronization protocols are just a few.

Number Nine:

Not confirming repairs. After a repair is complete, it’s important to re-check to ensure that the problem is indeed fixed. Too often parts are thrown in and the car is pulled out only to pull in another victim.

Number Ten:

Making a mess. If the above nine mistakes weren’t bad enough, there are now greasy fingerprints on the hood and steering wheel, and two big greasy boot marks on the carpet.

About the Author

Theodore P. Olson (Ted) holds extensive certifications from Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, GM, and ASE. He is the author of eight books and numerous articles on the automotive service industry. Visit RepairTrust
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