Murray Holladay

Mechanics Are the Heart of a Vehicle Repair Shop

Several states require repair shops to give consumers cost estimates before doing any work. Consumers can also shop around by phone or online.

Ask your state Attorney General’s office or local consumer protection agency if the shops you are considering are licensed or registered. 

Look for certifications like an ASE seal, which indicates that some or all of the technicians have passed certain testing and education requirements. Read this first!

Mechanics

A mechanic is a person trained to make repairs on vehicles. Mechanics use specialized tools and equipment to diagnose problems and perform repairs. They also keep detailed records of repair work and parts used. Some mechanics have completed an apprenticeship, while others have taken vocational classes or have a technical degree.

Mechanics typically work inside well-equipped repair facilities. The main area where they do their work is the service bay, a space that contains diagnostic tools and equipment, such as power tools, wrenches, socket sets, and car lifts. Many facilities have multiple service bays to accommodate several vehicles at once.

Before choosing a repair shop, ask whether its technicians are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Certification is not a guarantee of quality or honesty, but it can help you avoid scams. Also, ask about the shop’s warranty policies and procedures. Some shops offer a limited warranty on their repairs, while others do not.

Technicians

Mechanics are the heart of any repair shop. They use tools and knowledge to inspect vehicles, determine problems, make repairs, and maintain records. Mechanics may work with dirty or greasy parts and tools, and in awkward positions; minor cuts and bruises are common. They must also be able to read, interpret, and transcribe data in order to keep detailed repair records.

Technicians must be able to communicate with customers to discuss problem areas and estimate prices. They must also explain the difference between new, remanufactured, or rebuilt, and salvage parts. Some states require shops to inform customers when they are using non-original equipment, and warranties may vary as to terms, duration, and coverage.

Mechanics often work with computers to compare readouts from diagnostic testing devices with benchmarked standards provided by the manufacturer. Keeping up with technological advances is a significant part of the job. Employers who provide training programs and encourage employees to earn certifications from professional associations make their shops more attractive to potential mechanics.

Customer Service

Some customers may have unrealistic expectations of a repair shop. They may think that a three-hour job can be completed in fifteen minutes, or expect their job to be prioritized above every other ticket the shop has that day.

Listening to your customer’s concerns and providing clear and transparent communication is the foundation of great customer service. Provide updates to the customer through calls, texts, or emails as the work progresses. If you encounter any unexpected issues, communicate these to the customer and offer alternative solutions.

In addition, be sure your shop follows all state and local business licensing requirements. For example, many shops require a limited liability company (LLC), which protects the owner from bearing damages out of his or her personal finances in the event of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation is also available, but these structures can lead to more complicated tax considerations. For additional help navigating legalities, seek the advice of a small business lawyer.

Equipment

A vehicle repair shop requires a variety of equipment. Some of the more essential pieces include an air compressor, a vehicle hoist, and pneumatic hand tools. You should invest in the highest-capacity air compressor that you can afford to ensure maximum power.

Other important equipment includes a battery charger, jump box, and oil caddy, as well as air conditioning machines for servicing the A/Cs of your customers’ vehicles. You should also invest in an oxygen-acetylene torch, which is particularly useful if your shop services rusty vehicles.

Other equipment your shop should have includes a wide range of screwdrivers, from Phillips to Torx and flat-head. You should also consider investing in pliers, from jaw to long-nosed pliers. Additionally, you should stock your shop with electrical tape and cable binders to facilitate the repair of damaged wiring harnesses. A variety of hammers is essential as well, from claw hammers to machinist hammers. The hammers you choose should be of high quality. Continue reading the next article.