Not all Nairobi mechanics are thieves, maybe there is only a small percentage, but majority of them are thieves. Some mechanics are quarks, others are cons. Either way you don’t want to be in business with any of the two types of mechanic. This two types of mechanic can frustrate us.
If any of this has happened to you before, then its time to change your mechanic.
Charging for unnecessary repairs. I often hear that a mechanic diagnosed a problem, repaired it and – surprise, surprise – the problem was still there. They then re-diagnose it as a different problem and repair that. Sometimes, this repeats as the mechanic conducts the Ship of Theseus paradox in real life. Eventually, the mechanic repairs the original defect but charges the customer for all the repairs. As your gut is telling you, the mechanic shouldn’t charge the customer for the earlier, unnecessary repairs.
Overcharging for parts or labor. Most shops have a simple markup on parts. They buy them wholesale, mark them up and sell them to you with the job. The problem is that few people know what an actual part should cost. They also charge an outrageous amount for labor.
Misdiagnosing something that is not faulty. Sometimes to pad their bills, mechanics will tell a customer non-defective parts need to be replaced. Your brakes need to be resurfaced? They’ll tell you to get them replaced. Other parts on the car can be repaired? They’ll suggest replacement. Like unnecessary repairs, unneeded parts being sold to you is also illegal in Michigan and many other states.
Joyriding your car. This goes on more often than you want to know. Does every mechanic joyride the car after a repair? No. But this is one of the things we are really learning more about with the advent of dash cameras. The problem is that if you catch the mechanic doing this and your car is undamaged, it is hard to get compensated for it.
Damaging your car while they have it. Besides the accidents while joyriding, I’ve heard of other stuff happening to customer cars while they are being “repaired.” Grease on the seats, mysterious dents in body panels. Parts left off the car. Tools left in the car (doesn’t damage the car but it does say something about the mechanic who worked on your car). Again, if it happened while they had your car, it’s on them.
Stealing from your car. I’ve heard of all kinds of things being stolen from customer cars while the cars were in for service. Everything from change in the ashtray to a wallet from the car while the customer was talking to the service writer. Stereos being pried from dashboards. Or customers who find performance parts removed from their engines. Cool wheels often disappear. Shops often ask customers to file insurance claims on these. But – as you might guess – that’s not how this goes. The shop is on the hook since they had control and possession of your car. We’ve covered this before.
Your brake fluid is half empty, oil is quarter way, you do not have coolant, blah blah
When an attendant or a mechanic tells you this things be very careful into jumping into let add them as many will add ‘air’ to your car and charge you a lot of money. Always use your instincts to know whether they are lying or always check your owner’s manual; many cars have fluid that is designed to go 100,000 KMs.
Always ask for (original equipment) brake pads, engine plugs or at least equivalent material.