Nigerian mechanics aren’t smiling. Every car owner in the country dreads going to the market even when their car is in a bad condition. As much as you want your car fixed, you can’t help but worry about the financial implication. It’s impossible for you to walk into a mechanic shop, and walk out without spending money. And the money in question isn’t small change. Spending N1 you didn’t budget for isn’t easy especially as money doesn’t come by so easily.
But visiting the mechanic is inevitable. Your car needs regular maintenance and repairs. Don’t step into the territory of your mechanic unprepared. Naijauto advises that you do some research to help you reduce the amount of money you’ll be charged.
How to save cost at the mechanic in Nigeria
1. Have a written estimate
The average Nigerian mechanic doesn’t run short of faults about cars brought for repairs. You take your car for the horn to be fixed, and you are told about several other faults that need to be fixed. After making payment for the job to be done, when you come back to pick your car, you are told of another fault that was diagnosed in the process of repairing the car. Bottom line, they want you to pay more money.
Don’t fall for this.
Make sure the mechanic won't charge you extra by asking for a written note
Have your mechanic write all the repairs that need to be done before he begins work. That way, he’ll have no room to create more excuses to extort money from you.
2. Confirm prices of parts to be bought
Simply writing the items that need repair isn’t enough. You’ll be paying for these items, so, it’s important that you know how much you’ll spend from the onset. Ask the mechanic to write the cost of any parts he’ll need to buy. You can quickly check the prices of the items online, or better still, run out to go confirm the prices in the market. If you have friends or family who are knowledgeable about car parts, put a call across to them, and ask about the price of the parts required.
Getting car repair parts at good prices saves you a lot of money. And that’s because, most times, some mechanics inflate the prices.
3. Consider various auto part sources
Where you source your car repair parts matters as they offer different prices. Some auto parts sourcing locations include:
If your car is being repaired at a dealer’s shop, you’ll have the privilege of getting parts specifically from the dealer with the car manufacturer’s logo inscripted on them. But such parts are given at premium prices in most cases. The prices might be on the high side, but you are sure of good quality. The repair will last you a long time before getting damaged again.
Aftermarket parts are often knock-offs of dealer parts. You have to look carefully to detect the difference. You shouldn’t pay so much for this category of parts as they aren’t directly from the manufacturer.
If you are bent on saving some money on car repairs, going for used parts is the way. But bear it in mind that used parts aren’t always in good conditions. You don’t know the history of the car part, expecting it to work just fine is unrealistic. You could get a used part for short term use and replace it soon.
Car spare parts in Nigeria vary greatly; check carefully their origins before paying!
4. Negotiate labor (workmanship)
Apart from getting parts, the mechanic will do some work on your car. Ensure that his fees are included in the written estimate discussed above. Otherwise, he could charge you an outrageous sum, and demand that you pay it because you didn’t bargain earlier.
5. Don't accept flat rate billing
Basically, this is a general rate charged for repairs. Flat rate billing doesn’t work in Nigeria. It could be either in your advantage or disadvantage depending on the situation of things. To avoid having issues with your mechanic, ensure that he charges you for specific work done. That way, you know exactly what you are paying for.
>>> And remember to educate yourself about cars so mechanics can't tell lie. Visit car maintenance tips daily on Naijauto.com!