Know Before You Tow: How to Spot a Dishonest Mechanic

In the unfortunate event that you need to get your car towed, you want to be sure you take your car to a trustworthy, reliable mechanic. Otherwise, you could waste both money and time on repairs that won’t hold up. Here are 6 warning signs of a dishonest mechanic to be on the lookout for.

1. They give you a vague quote

A trustworthy mechanic assesses what is wrong with your vehicle, figures up how much it would cost to fix that problem, and gives you a quote for the repairs. They should also be able to itemize that quote on paper so that you know exactly what you’re paying for. If a mechanic tosses out a ballpark price, can’t break down what exactly you’re paying for, or won’t give you the quote on paper, those are all red flags that you need to take your car somewhere else.

2. They don’t have certifications or endorsements

If you’re looking for a reliable mechanic, look for one that can provide more than their word as proof of their services. Certifications and endorsements, for example, indicate that a car repair shop is reputable and trustworthy. Ask the mechanic if they have the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification and if they have any manufacturer certifications. If the mechanic isn’t certified and/or backed by well-known organizations such as AAA, you might not want to trust them with your vehicle.

3. They have bad reviews

Sometimes good car mechanics get a bad review or two. But you won’t find any good reviews for untrustworthy mechanics. If you’re using an internet search to find a mechanic, make sure you read reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook carefully. If a mechanic has a 3-star (or lower) rating or is getting consistently bad reviews, steer clear of them.

In addition to searching the internet, make sure you ask friends, neighbors, and family for recommendations for a reliable mechanic. They’ll be able to tell you firsthand how much the mechanic charged them, how quickly they made the repairs, and if they lasted.

4. They won’t show you damaged parts

Did your mechanic have to replace something on your vehicle and now won’t show you the damaged parts? This is a telltale sign of a dishonest mechanic! Trustworthy mechanics have nothing to hide and readily show you the damaged parts once repairs are made. Dishonest ones don’t want you to see what they fixed, because the less you know about their shoddy work, the better.

5. They take advantage of your ignorance

While some people understand the basics of their vehicle, most people rely on their mechanic to explain what is wrong and what repairs need to be done in order for their car to function normally again. If your mechanic says things like “it’s too complicated to explain, you wouldn’t understand,” “just trust me,” or “in order to fix this, we have to first fix these other problems we discovered,” chances are you are dealing with a dishonest mechanic.

6. They won’t give a warranty

Before a mechanic does any work on your vehicle, ask if they offer warranties. Good car mechanics are proud of their work and aren’t afraid to give you a warranty, but a dishonest mechanic, on the other hand, probably has something to hide and won’t give a warranty. This is because they don’t want to give you an opportunity to get your money back or have to “make it right” if something isn’t fixed correctly.

Doing a bit of research before you hire someone to work on your vehicle is worth the extra time it takes!