The 4 Conversations You Should Have With Your Mechanic

When discussing mechanic services, many folks find themselves lost about what questions to ask. If you're trying to get the most from having a mechanic work on a vehicle, it can help to deliberately have these four conversations.

Training and Experience

A mechanic's professional background can tell you a lot about them. While there's nothing wrong with being an informally trained mechanic, it does represent a different worldview than being ASE-certified or having been to a technical school, for example. A simple way to broach the topic is to ask them how they got into this sort of work.


Everything costs money. It's better to learn what a shop's rates are for different projects in advance so that you can plan according. Most places publish price lists, so look at costs for work beyond what you're doing today.

What Issues Are Coming Up in the Next Two Years?

It's hard to tell what all problems a car will have, but a mechanic can usually see certain things coming. They're not always quick to have these conversations with customers because folks don't always want to hear the truth.

A two-year horizon is best to use because it doesn't ask the mechanic to be a magical prognosticator. Instead, they can look at problems like brake wear, engine maintenance, transmission slippage, and fuel economy to give you a sense of what issues are coming. Much of this work is likely to be regular maintenance, but you'll also encounter problems like a dying starter or a failing A/C system that only has to be dealt with one or two times over the life of a vehicle. Asking about how long these components will last can help you put back money in anticipation of getting work done.

Vehicle-Specific Problems

Every make and model on the road has its own little quirks, and they often show up in auto repair shops. Some cars ride their front brakes harder than others. Some will have issues with the electrical relays before they hit 100,000 miles. Others will run like tanks for 200,000 miles. Mechanics have a lot of experience, and they can tell you which makes and models cause the most trouble. They also can tell you which ones are easy to work on and which ones can be challenging. This can help you make a cost-benefit analysis when you're buying a car or thinking about getting rid of one.

Contact a company like Professional Marine to learn more.