When it comes to car maintenance and repairs, having a reliable mechanic is crucial. But how do you ensure you're getting the best service and value for your money? Here are 20 questions you should consider asking your mechanic, especially if you're looking to source quality aftermarket parts from Start My Car, the largest online retailer of aftermarket car parts in Africa.


  1. Is your workshop RMI approved?

In South Africa, RMI (Retail Motor Industry Organisation) approval is a good indicator of a workshop's credibility and adherence to industry standards. You can find accredited workshops by visiting the RMI website. This ensures that the workshop meets specific criteria for quality and ethical business practices.


  1. What is the exact issue with my car?

Understanding the specific problem helps you make an informed decision and allows you to compare the mechanic's diagnosis with your own observations. A clear explanation can also help you understand the severity and implications of the issue.


  1. How did you diagnose the problem?

Knowing the diagnostic methods used can give you confidence in the mechanic's assessment and can help you understand the issue better. This is crucial for ensuring that the problem is accurately identified and effectively resolved.


  1. Is This a Common Problem for My Make and Model?

Knowing how common an issue is can help you understand if it's a manufacturer's fault or due to external factors. This can also guide you on whether to expect similar issues in the future.


  1. Do you have experience or specialize in my car's make and model?

Some mechanics specialize in certain types of vehicles. This can give you confidence that they are familiar with the intricacies of your car, ensuring more accurate and efficient repairs.


  1. What is the Cost Breakdown?

A detailed breakdown can help you understand the costs of parts, labor, and additional services. This transparency allows you to see exactly where your money is going.


  1. Is This Estimate Final?

It's important to ask if the initial estimate might change and under what circumstances. This helps you prepare for any potential increases in the repair cost.


  1. What type of parts will you use for repairs?

Question the mechanic if he will be fitting O.E or Aftermarket parts. There is a vast difference in quality between aftermarket brands, some being O.E equivalent quality and other’s being very poor imitations. Penny-wise can sometimes be pound foolish, and often the small amount extra for better quality is well worth the expense.


  1. Do you offer warranties on your work?

A warranty can provide peace of mind, ensuring that any issues post-repair will be taken care of without additional cost. This is a sign of a mechanic who stands behind their work.


  1. How long will the repair take?

Knowing the time frame helps you plan your schedule and make alternative transportation arrangements if necessary. This also helps you understand the complexity of the repair.


  1. Is this repair absolutely necessary?

Understanding the urgency of a repair helps you prioritize it among other potential issues with your vehicle. This can also help you budget and plan accordingly.


  1. What happens if I don't go ahead with this repair?

This question helps you gauge the risk involved in delaying a particular repair. It can also inform you about the potential consequences and additional costs of postponing the work.


  1. Can you show me the problem?

A visual explanation can provide a better understanding and can also serve as a form of verification. A trustworthy mechanic should be willing to show you the defective part or issue.


  1. What Happens if the Issue Persists?

Knowing the course of action for potential future problems can help you gauge the mechanic's reliability and commitment to customer satisfaction.


  1. Can I buy the spares myself and will you just charge for labour?

Mechanics often mark up the cost of spare parts, sometimes by as much as 30%. Buying the parts yourself from Start My Car and having them delivered can save you a substantial amount of money. Plus, you'll know you're fitting quality parts.


  1. What maintenance should I be considering next?

Being proactive about maintenance can save you money and headaches in the long run. Your mechanic can provide valuable insights into what to expect down the road.


  1. Are There Any Preventive Measures I Can Take?

Asking if there are ways to prevent the same issue from happening in the future can help you maintain your car better and potentially avoid costly repairs.


  1. Can you prioritize these repairs?

If multiple repairs are needed, knowing which ones are most urgent can help you budget accordingly. This allows you to tackle the most critical issues first.


  1. Do you perform road tests after repairs?

A road test can help confirm that the issue has been resolved and that no new problems have arisen. This is a good practice to ensure the repair's effectiveness.


  1. How often should this part be replaced?

Knowing the lifespan of the part being replaced can help you plan for future maintenance. This can also guide you on when to start checking for wear and tear.


Additional Tips

Insist on Seeing or Taking Your Old Parts Home: After the repairs, make sure to ask for your old parts. This ensures that they have been replaced as promised and that you are not being billed for things which weren't replaced.


Check the Quantities You Are Being Billed For: Always review the invoice carefully. For example, if your car has a 3-liter oil capacity and you are billed for five liters, either contest this or ask to take home the remaining 2 liters. This ensures you're not overpaying for materials.


By asking these questions, you empower yourself to make informed decisions about your car's maintenance and repairs. And remember, for quality aftermarket parts, Start My Car is a reliable source that can help you keep your vehicle in top shape without breaking the bank.