Why a Good Mechanic is Worth His Weight in Gold

I’m very fortunate where I live to have an expert mechanic nearby who has 25 years experience working on all kinds of cars. He only replaces parts when absolute necessary, and his workmanship is first class. His favorite manufacturer right now for value and quality is Nissan and Infinity. He contends that you get a lot more bang for your buck with an Infinity over a BMW, with similar handling and power characteristics. He also contends that the quality of Japanese auto electronics is much better than that of German manufacturers.

Early in his career, my mechanic worked for just about every major automobile retailer, and quit every job in disgust over the management practices of dealer service departments.

On his first day on the job at a Ford dealership, the service department sent him a used car to safety for a customer. He found the car to be very unsafe in its current condition and spent seven hours getting it properly up to speed. The dealership was outraged that he booked seven hours doing this and would only pay him two hours for his work. Appalled, he walked right out the door without his pay. Two hours was not enough time to make that particular car safe for the customer.

At my mechanic’s shop, a colleague often comes over for coffee breaks and recently revealed that his Toyota dealership announced to all service staff that they needed to sell more auto parts. This implies, of course, that the dealership wants its mechanics to replace parts when it may not be needed. Both my mechanic and his colleague were appalled at this management directive to sell more parts. Not only do car dealerships make a profit by selling new parts to customers (at retail prices, not wholesale prices), but they also make money selling the used parts they remove from vehicles.

The point of all this is comes down to what my mechanic advises on a regular basis. If the vehicle you are driving is no longer covered by its original warranty, question every replacement part that’s recommended for your vehicle. This is especially warranted if you are getting your vehicle serviced at a major dealership. Ask the service department to show you any worn parts.

The reality, it would seem, is that automobiles continue to get better and better, but human nature seems to stay the same. I’ve learned that a knowledgeable and trustworthy mechanic is worth his weight in gold. If your car or truck is outside of its warranty and you need service, make sure you question everything.