An automobile workshop without a standard system of operation like:
- 1) Presence of a workshop manager
- 2) Inventory documentation
- 3) Presence of modern-day equipment/tools
- 4) Computerized and scanning tools for diagnosis
is often referred to as "roadside workshop" or "roadside mechanic" in Nigeria. It's not because they are always beside the road, it's just a term/slang that came up from the fact that whenever motorists had emergencies that need the attention of automotive technicians, a 'mechanic' would show up by the roadside and offer an immediate solution to get the car off the road.
Should roadside mechanics be considered road heroes? Well, I don't agree
Roadside mechanics can be very experienced and knowledgeable about car repairs and maintenance, but he lacks packaging by running a workshop in the middle of an unattractable environment that has little or no modern facility. You would find a lot in Lagos, for instance, under bridges and abandoned plots of land.
I have been studying roadside mechanics for about two years now and I have concluded that most of them follow a sad trend of bad habits and approach to their profession that puts their customer's cars at risk all the time. Here are the 5 of them:
1. Personal hygiene is zero
Most of these guys are so greasy and they extend this habit onto the handling of their customer's cars while working to the extent that any random person can tell that your car just left a mechanic's workshop. They leave the tough grease stains everywhere in the interior components of the car like seats, roof, and steering.
When your car breaks down, it's the roadside mechanic comes to the rescue but...
Most of them wear overalls that have tough grease stains and they lie down around cars so when it's time to enter a car to start it up or check something, they carelessly move within the car while their unclean overall is staining every nook and cranny of the car.
I am sure you have come across a random roadside mechanic while on public transit and you tried your best to avoid them seating next to you because you didn't want to get stained on your way to work.
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2. They are careless with your personal belongings
Most roadside mechanics don't take an inventory before they start repairs on our cars, they just start work! So you can't hold them responsible if anything goes missing except you make them take an inventory by force and you drop some very strict warnings and that's just very unprofessional in 2020.
You can never get your personal things right after taking your car from a roadside mechanic
They don't care about important basic items contained in your car, so they toy with anything they see and I am talking from an eye witness’s point of view. Your sunglasses, perfume bottles, aux cord, Bluetooth mp3 player, writing materials, shoes, anything at all. What is worse, almost anybody can walk up to your car within the workshop because there is no restriction on working areas.
So basically, anybody can lie in your car and mess around with your stuff. You get your car back and gradually, you notice a lot of things are not right and trust me, their denial game is the strongest.
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3. Messing with fuel in your car
Again, this is an eye witness’s report. Some of these guys do extreme theft with your car's fuel, they drain the petrol/diesel for the gas tank just to take home or sell in the black market. When you pick your car they tell you the gas was consumed because of a road test. Road tests are meant to last for several minutes but because of their unprofessionalism, they could even take your car on joyrides to family events, church and visits of very long distances.
4. Improper diagnosis
The bad habit here is not that they don't have up to date tools or equipment but because they purposely diagnose your car improperly so that you can bring back the car and they would keep ripping you off by playing on your car knowledge illiteracy. Some just innocently depend on the rule of thumb to diagnose your car. I mean, who does that in 2020?
Car systems these days need a lot of proper diagnoses but we can't blame them for not having enough resources to pull modern-day diagnostic tools and types of equipment that puts the minds of their customers at ease.
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5. Random form of charges
Roadside mechanics vary their charge according to how rich/poor the car owner appears to them. They look at the worth of your shoes and wristwatch then charge even for basic services like maintenance.
But what they don't know is that word of mouth spreads faster than any other form of business. So if two friends, "one appearing poor and the other appearing rich" have a conversation about the same service that the same roadside mechanic offered, one would feel ripped off, what that feeling causes? One customer lost!
As much as these mechanics are running their workshop on a low budget, they have no excuse practicing bad habits that endangers their customers all the time. I have good testimonies of roadside mechanics that served all their customers with premium services.
What is the point of offering a service when the end goal is to not make the customer happy? That is bad business.
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Why don't rescue yourself?