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Sensible, Fair Communicating With Your Auto Mechanic

Updated on July 26, 2014

"Sure, ladies, you can trust me."


I’m a simple man. I have a simple mind. And I am the head of the line in admitting that when it comes to (certain) auto mechanics, I just do not understand them and their lingo.

I mean no harm to the guys and gal mechanics who “have more on the ball,” that I ever will, but unless I vent this festering sore, I am going to burst wide-open.

Remember when these were seen everywhere?

"Your central-lateral two-tone diameter scale is broken"

"Take a deep va-room and hold it"

Ladies, this is for you

It just happens that I recall an ongoing complaint about how (some) male auto mechanics for some reason seemingly are weak when it comes to female customers in the fact that the auto mechanics can tell the females anything and they will believe their rhetoric and pay the bill no matter how high.

This was such a sore-spot with the ladies, and it should have been, that it caught the attention of “60 Minutes,’” Mike Wallace who exposed a few of these “fast-buck artists,” by sending a female employee (to three of the suspected crooked mechanics’ shops) who worked for CBS acting as a female with car problems. Three out of three mechanics over-charged this woman by telling her that she needed a certain part when in fact she didn’t. Wallace used the term, “scam,” in his report and while showing the three mechanics themselves and what they said on video tape.

"Miss, you can go home and I'll call you when I am finished"

You can tell that is this an honest mechanic

"Let's see, oil cleaning, tire pumping, new radiator cap, that'll be $450.89"


Mike Wallace, you rock!

Needless to say, these three vultures were not happy campers. One was so angry his comments were “bleeped-out,” as he sped away flipping Wallace off in the process. He wasn’t a truthful mechanic, but a heckuva multi-tasker.

Now comes the touchy area of this piece. And dear, sweet ladies, I am literally “typing through a mine field,” at this point for saying that it was mostly-women these three crooks took advantage of and I am sure that they took a few guys for a few extra bucks too, because a lot of men and women are not mechanically-friendly and “we” are easy prey for such con artists with grease underneath their nails.

So as a way of helping both men and women who are like me, not that mechanically-savvy, I am presenting this (parts and labor of love) just for you entitled . . .

“Sensible, Fair Communications With Your Auto Mechanic”

Note: in this hub, some communications are best said by a physical reaction.

Hey, you! Men and women who are not mechanically-savvy: Read these ideas!

"Just because I wear a skirt and high heels doesn't mean I do not know about cars!"

"Oh my! You mean not all auto mechanics are trustworthy?"

Are you getting all of these?

  1. If your auto mechanic seems distracted as you explain your car problem, speak louder. Do not worry if you offend him (or her). It’s your car and your money.

  2. If you take your automobile to your mechanic for him to inspect the problem and you smell whiskey on his breath, leave. If he (or she) drinks on the job, then he or she will drink while working on your automobile.

  3. Before you take your car or truck to the shop, do some research on Google to see if you can find out how to tell your mechanic what the problem is. But if during your explanation, he begins to yawn, crack his knuckles or become fidgety, shut up and go to another shop. Any mechanic who cannot pay attention to a customer does not deserve the work.

  4. When you explain your automotive problem to your mechanic, he starts trying to open the hood (from the wrong end of the automobile), you might say, “Are you not going to put my car on a diagnostic machine before you work on it?” You are in deep trouble if he replies, “A diag—nos, what?”

  5. If you arrive at the mechanic’s shop and find him and his employees sitting around playing cards, this should be a red flag that he doesn’t do that much mechanic work.

  6. Ask your mechanic when you arrive, “Does my problem sound familiar to you?” And a weak “maybe,” is all you get, I suggest that you find a reliable mechanic.

  7. If your mechanic interrupts you often by regaling you of “adventures,” he has experienced in his shop, then say, “Well, I bid you good bye and have a great day.”

  8. Discuss with your mechanic the actual cost of his work including labor and parts, and I mean to the cent, and if he balks at this by saying, “Oh, uhhh, it might be higher, it depends on how long I have to work on your car,” then be persistent. Do not settle for this answer. Simply and in a civil voice say, “I have trusted you for years for a fair price, and you have delivered on that, but if you do not, my husband, the D.A., will be paying you a visit.” (you should get a fair deal).

  9. Sit down and talk about the problem you are having with your car with the mechanic, not one of his employees. This is how some mechanics operate. They get an employee to write-up the job, then if the mechanic is crooked, he will over-charge you for unneeded parts and if you complain, he will blame it on the employee.

  10. When you start to pay your bill, have some other estimates from other automotive shops and show them to the mechanic if he has obviously over-charged you. “I am not trying to be ugly with you, but simply because I wear a skirt and heels does not mean that I am stupid.” Say this as you insist on paying a bill that is more sensible.

  11. If the mechanic shows you this apparatus he calls “the part,” he had to replace, snap a photo of it with your cell phone, and Google it to see if it is really a part on your car. Note: one of the three mechanics I spoke of that was busted by Mike Wallace, used this con to get extra dough from the unsuspecting female.

    Happy motoring.

    Coming soon . . .”Things You Never Say While in The Inner-City”

"You mean "I" will have to "work"?"


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      My Dear Margaret,

      You are such a dear for sharing your sweet comment. Long live reporters with backbones like Wallace!

      I would love to drive "The Queen Mary," for I had an uncle who lived in Peoria, Illinois who swore that Buick was THE ONLY car in the world to own.

      That is why I love Buicks. Tell your husband that I admire him for owing such a classic.

      And thank you for the following, Margaret. I appreciate YOU very much. Happy Labor Day.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Kenneth, I, too, watched Mike Wallace's excellent expose' on 60 Minutes back when it originally aired. I was truly appalled. Also probably rather naive, since I grew up in Manhattan and have never owned a car. Ironically, I married someone who owns 3 cars (including a huge 1973 Buick Centurion convertible we lovingly call "The Queen Mary" and a motorcycle) and who does nearly all his own repairs. Fortunately, he also has a very trustworthy mechanic for those jobs he doesn't have the equipment to fix himself.

      Your witty observations and advice clearly come from the voice of experience. Thank you for sharing them. I'm sure they'll help mechanically-challenged car owners of both genders protect themselves against being ripped off.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Fantastic tip!!! I wish you had been near when this was written. This takes a lot of frustration and headaches out of the entire car-repair event.

      Thank you lots!

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 

      4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      If the car is making a weird sound, don't try to imitate it - record it in video on your phone and play that for the mechanic.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear shelamyers,

      I have to agree with your thinking about taking your dad with you. Now in my case, my wife was blessed when she grew up to have a dad who brought her along to every mechanic and car trade he made, so she is tough to be conned.

      Do not take this ugly, but a mean thing to do to a male car salesman who is talking down to a lady is for the lady to ask:

      "Say, where is the feminine hygiene napkin dispenser?" And watch the smart alec guy's turn red with embarrassment.

      Hey, this might be good for those hidden video prank shows.


    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Kenneth: I love your play on "shade tree mechanic". I was just thinking about a suggestion for women who feel they might get ripped off by a mechanic. Any time a buy a new car, I always take my dad with me. Why? The salesperson always wants to show me the little things (vanity mirrors, storage, etc) and won't answer my questions about the "guy stuff". When my dad is with me, they give him all the technical stuff - which he doesn't understand, but they don't know that. The same can be done with the mechanic. A woman can take a guy with here and, whether he knows anything about cars or not, the mechanic will more than likely not try to rip him off.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, sheilamyers,

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your thoughts on shady mechaics. No, this was not a pun. Get it? Shade tree mechanic? Shady mechanic?

      Oh how I wish I had used that as a headline.

      Ladies, beware of shady mechanics.

      Wonder how many hubbers would know what that meant???

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      You are appreciated as well for your comments.

      I was one of the many who witnessed Mike Wallace expose the three mechanics and I wish I had written every trick they pulled on this one woman.

      Criminal I say. Robbery too.

      I am very careful about mechanics and bankers.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you so much. Your comment is much-appreciated.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      You are so right! Mechanics are more likely to rip off women because a lot of women - me included - have know idea about car problems. I like your warnings and I definitely wouldn't deal with mechanics who did any of those things. I'm lucky and found a good mechanic who is so very honest.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub Kenneth, most car owners need a mechanic they can rely on unless they are one themselves. It is a constant worry for me when I book my car in for a service what else they will find wrong that I need to pay extra for. I was actually surprised that last time it was just the quted price and not a cent extra. Your advice is very good. Voted up.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great Job


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