Your mechanic relationship is an important one. This is the person, or team of people, that you trust to keep your car running, so you can get to work, drive your family to school and generally enjoy your worry-free time behind the wheel. Even if you do your own automotive work, it can be critical to have a professional mechanic you can turn to when you run into a problem that requires an outside expertise.
Remember, They Are People
A mechanic relationship is a complicated one. Most of the time, you only see these talented tradespeople when there’s a problem that you need fixed. That dynamic can generate stress between the two of you, because no one enjoys having to deal with a broken vehicle—or dealing with someone who’s upset about a broken vehicle.
The first step in any good relationship is to treat the other person like a human being, and remember that they are only there to help you out of a tough situation. They’re not responsible for what happened. They’re a valuable resource to help you work things out and get you back on the road as soon as they possibly can.
Also Remember, They Run A Business
Most of the time, people want their cars to be fixed as quickly and cheaply as possible. From a mechanic’s perspective, there is only so much time in each day to get the job done, and customers coming through the door all day long doesn’t help. As a client, if you can respect their scheduling concerns, then you can definitely help improve your mechanic relationship. The same applies to negotiating the price of a repair. There are fixed costs, like parts, and variable costs, like labor, that together allow your local garage to stay in business. Understand your mechanic’s need to turn a profit, and don’t base your repair decisions exclusively on price. This will put you on favorable terms with owners and employees alike.
Ask Your Questions, But Support Your Mechanic, Too
As a DIYer, you might not be visiting a garage to have someone else do work on your car all that often—but when you do, make sure to go to the same shop as often as you can. Most mechanics won’t mind you asking them questions as long as you’re also supporting their business. This means things like swapping tires onto new rims, or more complex welding or lift-related jobs you can’t do at home should be brought to your favorite shop to help build your mechanic relationship. Support is a two-way street, and the garage owners and workers will appreciate your willingness to provide them with work in exchange for the chance to pick their brains (and cash, of course).
Follow these tips to foster your relationship with your local garage, and your mechanic will be happy to see you walk in their door.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the mechanic relationship, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.