Car Servicing: Dos & Don’ts When Speaking to Your Mechanic

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Prevention is almost always better than cure. Ensuring your mechanical bits remain functional in the first place, will always be better than repairing the components when they are damaged.

But if you are not a car enthusiast, or are a complete newbie to the world of car ownership, you may not know what to actually say to your mechanic when it comes time for its service. We know that general and regular maintenance is cheap insurance against avoidable damage from wear and tear.

For the mechanically inept though, even this basic trip to the workshop can seem daunting. So just what do you say to your mechanic when your car is in need of a service?

Here’s a list of Don’ts:

Technical Talk

There’s a general belief that using technical terms will ensure that you get better prices. The concept is that big lingo will give off a more knowledgeable, and therefore less gullible vibe, to the mechanics, and act as a deterrent should they ever have the thought of trying to profit off you.

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We advise you do not do this as the mechanics are probably able to look straight past the veneer of experience you claim to have, and thus, charge you extra as a result. Also, if done improperly, you may send your mechanics on a wild goose chase, diagnosing and replacing components that were perfectly fine to begin with!

Telling Them To Do All That Is Needed

Do be clear about why your car is in the workshop. Never allow your mechanic free reign over the scope of works; if it is for a regular check-up and service, make it known to them clearly.

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Every individual has a different interpretation of what ‘doing all that is needed’ actually means. Whilst you may think of getting all the consumables nearing the end of their lifecycle replaced early for peace of mind, your service agent may think he/she needs to replace every last item back to factory specifications. We don’t need to tell you that that is a very expensive proposition!

Leave them to ascertain what issues there actually are with the car, and let them recommend fixes. Feel free to point them in a general direction in regards to the areas of concern.

With the Don’ts out of the way, here are some things you should do/say when you drop the car off at the workshop!

Be Specific With Problems

Whilst you shouldn’t throw around big words for the sake of it, you should not leave your mechanic clueless as to what the problems can be in the first place. Describe symptoms succinctly, and try to localise the problem areas that you need him to take a gander at.

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It may be hard for them to replicate the problem in the short test drives they are allowed to conduct. Where possible, get on film and recurring issues that may not present on short journeys. Photographic evidence of issues can be a good way to convey the message as well. If it comes to that, collect fragments from major failures to assist your mechanic in his diagnosis of the problem!


Whilst not necessarily related to the way you convey your message to the mechanic, doing thorough research can yield you some big savings. The independent repair business is a competitive industry. 

This means that there will always be a workshop out there hungrier for business, and more willing to undercut its competition. Shopping around, therefore, can help you save quite a bit of cash.

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With something as complex as an automobile, there is a massive risk of making a move that is penny-wise, but pound-foolish. It may be good getting service on the cheap, but if the workshop’s reviews aren’t exactly glowing, you may be subjecting yourself to the chance of an improperly serviced car that can have an accelerated rate of wear or just be downright dangerous.

Here’s a tip – we have a motor directory with a list of our trusted partners. They can always net you a bargain but sans the chance of improper repair/maintenance works!

If you’d like to net some extra savings, here are some optional things you can do!

Bring Your Own Consumables

Workshops may charge you a small markup on the items you may need during your car’s service. Getting these items yourself, therefore, may actually save you a fair chunk of change in the long run.

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But here’s a word of warning – only proceed to buy the consumables if you know what you need to purchase. Refer to the service manual if in doubt. This handy little guide will tell you the grade of oil your engine requires, and the corresponding part numbers of the items you need!

Some DIY Perhaps?

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One foolproof way of saving some money is to do some DIY. Whilst you can get your car professionally cleaned and detailed, do you really need to? 

Car cleaning is perhaps the easiest way into doing some car-related DIY. You gain some skills, save some cash, and get some exercise in – all-around wins!

May that open the DIY floodgates for you to attempt some more complex swaps. Light fixtures, trim pieces and even all-new head units can be easily attempted if you are not afraid of your chest of tools! Online guides are aplenty, so use this resource wisely.

That being said, if you ever like you have gone in over your head, cut your losses and get a mechanic to fix it!

For Greater Maintainance Savings

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Motorist aims to help you save time and money on your car ownership journey. From sourcing your ideal ride to trading your existing car in, and from issues like COE renewal to more personal things like car modification, we have a service for it all! 

Try out our app today to see what value it can add to your life!

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Read More: [Infographic] Average Cost of Car Repairs and Part Replacements

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