I was recently out of state and was overdue for an oil change so I pulled into a Jiffy Lube where I was visiting and had the car serviced there. My overall experience there was rather unremarkable. But there was one distinguishing moment when the mechanic recommended I get the tires rotated that got my own wheels rolling about prior experiences with car mechanics - both good and bad - and just how much customer trust plays into their relationship with auto repair shops.The cost to own and operate a car isn't cheap - AAA puts the annual costs at $9,122 per year for someone that drives 15,000 miles a year. While most of those costs cover car payments, gas, oil, and insurance, the maintenance tab for drivers rose 11.26 percent this year to 4.97 cents per mile to the tune of roughly $745 for the average driver. So when it comes to maintaining and repairing a vehicle, you want to have a repair shop you can trust won't inflate the costs or gouge you for unnecessary repairs.
The absolute worst experience I ever encountered was with a local Ford dealer. I had considered buying a used Taurus in the mid-1990s and the salesman for the dealership told me about a 120-point inspection they do on every used vehicle. I asked if I could have the car inspected by my regular mechanic at the time and the salesman agreed.
A few hours after our mechanic looked over the car, he called me in. I'll never forget what he told me. "I can list at least a dozen major repairs this car requires and that doesn't include all of the smaller things that it needs," he said. "Are you kidding me?" He wasn't kidding as he ran down the list of problems with the car. When I brought the car back to the dealership, the salesman seemed dumbfounded. Needless to say, I didn't buy the car. Beyond that, the experience shattered any chance of my ever buying a car from this dealership. I'd completely lost all trust in them.
I've since found a mechanic named Vince I've come to know and trust. When a repair is needed, Vince always quotes a fair price and gets the job done quickly. When we ran into problems with a tow hitch we had installed by another shop, Vince explained in layman's terms what was lacking and what he intended to do to resolve the problem for us affordably. Vince's straightforward style has earned our trust and repeat business as well as referrals.