For motorists, a mechanic is either a lifesaver or a necessary evil, depending on the experiences you have had with one. Unfortunately, not everyone has a smooth experience at the auto garage. Almost everyone who drives has a tale to tell of the unnecessary losses they have incurred in the hands of a dishonest mechanic.
The problem is that even those who you think are honest or professional may actually trick you.
Below are eight crafty ways a mechanic can rip you off in Kenya:
1. Your Mechanic Charging You for Work Not Done
Most motorists are unfortunately not that knowledgeable in the nitty-gritties of the inner workings of automobiles. That’s why they need mechanics. Unfortunately, some crafty mechanics see this as an opportunity to make easy money off the hapless car owner.
You visit your mechanic and he tells you that the car has a certain problem. A while later, he tells you he has dealt with the problem. Since he is using jargon, you don’t really know what he is saying and you have to take his word for it that he has dealt with the problem.
Later, your car malfunctions again and you go to another mechanic. To your surprise, your new guy informs you that the parts you were charged for were not actually replaced.
2. Phantom Repairs
Some mechanics will take a perfectly okay car and create phantom repairs just so they can charge a higher fee.
For instance, such a mechanic may spray WD40 on the suspension struts and then use that to hoodwink you that the car has an oil leak and the suspension struts must therefore be quickly replaced. Oblivious to the mechanic’s deviousness, you approve the work, but all the mechanic does is clean up the WD40 and apply black paint on the suspension struts.
When you come back, the mechanic proudly displays the “new”, shiny suspension struts that have no oil leak and you happily fork out the cash.
3. Your mechanic is Overcharging
Cunning mechanics know well that the average car owner is lacks knowledgeable in car parts, how much they cost, or how much work is involved in replacing them or repairing them. They will raise the price, based on their assessment of the customer’s financial capability and perceived level of knowledge about motor vehicles.
When it comes to labor, the mechanic can lie to you that the job will take longer than it actually does. He could tell you to come back in a few hours, or to come back the next day, yet the actual repairs may only talk half an hour or so. This creates a perception in your mind that the mechanic has done a huge amount of work and you therefore don’t complain when he slaps you with a hefty fee.
4. Repairs that Come in Groups
So much mischief would be averted if the car owner knew a thing or two about cars. Some of these mechanics are pretty good at reading you and figuring out if you know cars or not. If you don’t, you may end up paying for a bunch of repairs that don’t even exist.
The mechanic could say to you, “Well, you need to replace this part, but to do that, we must remove this, and by the way that part over there is broken, and we must replace this other part, and we have to put in new gaskets, and the brake fluid needs refilling …” A lot of times when you are told something like that, you are being conned.
5. Charging Full Price for Old/Re-manufactured Parts
Re-manufactured (used) parts are okay, provided you aren’t paying too much than you should for them. Some greedy mechanics con unsuspecting car owners by charging them full price for re-manufactured parts.
To protect other customers, always ask the mechanic to give you your car’s old parts back after they have been replaced. If the mechanic doesn’t want to, you should be wary of taking your car there again.
6. One Mechanic Repair after Another
Diagnosing a car’s problem is not always straightforward. We all understand that, but unscrupulous mechanics take advantage of this uncertainty. That’s when you take your car to the mechanic and he fixes one repair, then inspects the car again and finds a new problem, which leads to a second repair, and so forth. A mechanic who keeps finding new problems is very likely to take advantage of you.
The only way to truly prevent these things from happening to you is beef up your car knowledge. An unscrupulous mechanic can’t prey on you if you know enough about cars to see through the trickery. Do your research on various car parts and car problems.
You should also consult with knowledgeable car owners in your area to find out which mechanics are reliable and trustworthy. Unscrupulous mechanics always end up getting a bad rep.
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