It’s not a game of truth or dare
Every car owner has gone through this at some point. The car is at the mechanic to get something routine done and the phone rings. It’s the garage. They were working on your car and they’ve found X, Y and Z wrong with the car—all are issues that need immediate attention. And you get that sinking feeling
in your stomach. It might be your brakes. Your spark plugs. Maybe your belts look cracked. Or you have
some kind of leak. It could be your suspension (shocks, struts, stabilizers, etc). It could be one of several thousand moving parts that are checked whenever we open the hood of the car or put it up on a lift. But suddenly your 400 NIS job is now going to cost a couple thousand NIS or even more. And you are a bit torn on how to answer.
On the one hand, you want to take care of your car and make sure that it is safe and well maintained. The last thing you want to do is to ignore a problem that might end up stranding you at the side of the road.
And you brought the car to the mechanic because you trusted him to know what is good for the car.
On the other hand, the car seemed fine when you dropped it off. It was running smoothly, except for whatever reason you took it in (and if that reason was an oil change it might have been showing no
problems). Yet, your mechanic is on the phone giving you a whole list of things that are wrong with your great car! You might even be wondering if the mechanic is exaggerating the problems in the hope of generating some business and doing repairs that might not be called for.
There are definitely mechanics who would do such things. Your garage and its mechanics are running a business and certainly have an interest in making a profit. There is no question that they build their operating systems around generating revenue. So yes, your mechanic is motivated to be overly thorough in examining your car. After all, he’ll make money if you need additional work. This is why the relationship
between you and your mechanic/garage is so important. When checking out the car, a reputable shop’s primary motivation is to make sure that everything is in good working order, and their secondary motivation is generating more sales. Cars wear down and need repairs. And they understand that dealing
with a customer honestly is more important than selling a few more gaskets and hoses.
When they do find an issue, an action plan needs to be identified. Some things, like leaks or broken parts, may need immediate replacement before the car suffers further damage because some of its systems
would not be running optimally. Other issues, like a timing belt or spark plugs need to be changed at specific distance intervals, and you might be close enough to the next interval to warrant a change.
The mechanic/garage you use routinely will know not only the car’s history, but also your history as an owner. They can predict when you’ll bring the car in again and they will only recommend repair when a problem is critical and the repair can’t wait, or when they see a problem that might cause damage if not repaired before your next visit. Yes, they are generating business, but it is business you need to get done.
That’s the difference between drumming up business to pad your revenues and responsibly helping yourself (hey, we are a business after all) as well as your customers, by giving the customer good advice on car
maintenance. The two are not contradictory.
Shmuel Katz is the general manager and owner of Auto King Car Garage. Auto King is an American-run car garage in Beit Shemesh. Auto King provides top mechanical service, with customer service and transparency
to match—a rarity in the industry.
Auto King is located across from the Big Fashion Mall and can be reached at 02-626-1613 or through their website www.autoking.co.il.