‘With all the mechanics out there, how do we know which ones we can trust?’: 7 Red Flags For Bad Mechanics

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Bad Car Mechanics: Red Flags Everyone Should Remember

A lot of us can call our automobiles our personal ‘jewels,’ as getting them isn’t really something we can do in a snap. Regardless of whether or not these cars were gifts from our parents, or something we’ve earned with our own hard work, we want to make sure they are always in adequate condition. We never know when we’ll have a sudden girls’ night out, or when we have to rush to meet a client, right? And when our cars are in trouble, we want to make sure we get it to the right people for repairs. Thing is, with all the mechanics out there, how do we know which ones we should trust?

Or rather, how do we know which ones we should avoid? Thankfully, bad car mechanics tend to leave a ton of red flags before we even get to the point of hiring them. Let’s explore just how we can detect these red flags and what we can do about them. Here are our tips:

1. Be careful when the engine light suddenly pops up.

One of the most ‘feared’ parts of having a car is to have the engine light flip on, because this means there’s a problem with the car’s interior that’s not exactly easy to spot. This usually encourages us to go to a fixer or a mechanic and have them check out what’s wrong with our cars… and sometimes this is where bad mechanics can sucker us. Since we’re not aware of what goes on within the engine or the inside of the vehicle ourselves, mechanics can exaggerate the problems they see and this may have us end up with more problems we’ve expected.

2. Be alert for when they try to pressure you for repairs or free items.

Since car repairs are also a business, we know mechanics will want to have clients purchase as much as possible. Ideally, they can get more clients by doing better work. Some bad mechanics, unfortunately, will resort to bad sales talk tactics that will either coerce you into making repairs by pressuring you, or offer free stuff to entice you into other things. This will either end up with your car getting more repairs than needed, or scare you into making repairs you may not even need. If your mechanics are suggesting a kind of repair for damaged cars like you’d see in a Moto X3M bike race game, then you’re likely facing a red flag you should be wary of.

3. Be cautious of mechanics who don’t even explain what they plan on doing.

If you’re not a car-savvy person, it’s likely that you’re not always aware of what’s going on with your car. And it’s okay, as mechanics and auto repair shops really are there to help you understand what’s going on with your vehicle. Unfortunately, bad ones exploit this to their advantage when they don’t even explain their plans for your vehicle. If your mechanics refuse to explain their repairs in full in a way you can understand, then they’re likely not reliable. This is especially the case if you know your car didn’t suffer heavy damages.

4. Be wary of extended repair times.

When you have your car up for repairs with your local mechanic, make sure you ask how long it usually takes for them to conduct a repair. If possible, try to use a timer to check and list down how long it usually takes for certain repairs – especially basic ones – to get finished. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, as sometimes scammers overcharge you or take extra time to ‘do repairs’ and then have you pay for extra hours they’ve spent.

5. Be careful when they’ve done a repair without even asking you.

It’s important to remember mechanics usually follow a ‘formal’ process whenever you send in your car in for repairs. Usually, this is you and your mechanic agreeing on what repairs to be made, and how much things might cost. This is important, as we need to make sure we’re aware of what our mechanics will be fixing, and that our mechanics are compensated properly. And, should there be extra repairs which need to be made, ideal mechanics should be asking you for permission first.

6. Be wary of empty desks, queues, and old equipment.

Our reputable mechanics will make sure they and their shop remain in tip-top shape and that they’re presentable. You need to take note about how the entire business appears in order to avoid some of the red flags we’ve stated above. If you’re seeing idle staff, empty parking lots, and even old equipment, you’ll likely be dealing with  store that’s either having a slow day or isn’t really reputable in general. If they’re defensive about the kinds of repairs they make or the state of their business, you’re likely dealing with a huge red flag for a bad business.

7. Be sure to double check comments and reviews.

If you’re still looking for mechanics and auto-repair shops, try to check out if they have reviews online or if they have an active social media presence. Auto-repair shops and mechanics who are active online means they’re paying attention to what people think about their business, and they take their branding seriously. If there are comments and reviews about their services, this is also a great way to help you see if they’re great at their job.


With our tips above, we can hopefully take our babies away from bad car mechanics that can ruin them in more ways than one. Unfortunately, having bad mechanics work on our vehicles can do more harm than good, and this can inevitably make us spend more money trying to get them re-fixed. Hopefully, the red flags we’ve elaborated above can help you be more aware of what to avoid in terms of bad mechanics, and for you to have the best car maintenance experience possible.

If you have more tips for your fellow driving sisters, please share them below! And remember, if you have other comments and other quick tricks to share with everyone, don’t hesitate to write them down in the comments section below. Happy Driving!

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by John Lambert. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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