A good mechanic is like your favorite doctor. You entrust them with one of the most important investments in your life, your car. And whenever it is sick, they’ll nurse it back to health.
However, many of us don’t spend enough time finding the right ‘vehicle doctor’. Instead, we use the ones our friends and family recommend, and trust that they’ll treat us as well as they treat our loved ones. Some do, but many don’t.
In Tanzania, car mechanics, and fixers ‘fundis’ in general, have a bad reputation for being dishonest, thieves and opportunistic. We’ve all heard stories of someone taking their car to a mechanic only for it to come back with even more problems that need fixing, or some missing parts.
The thing is, many so-called ‘mechanics’ aren’t certified, professionals. In Tanzania, and many other countries, most people don’t go to school to study to be a mechanic, instead, they learn through apprenticeship and on the job. Which is ok. But it makes it harder to evaluate who is serious about their work, and who is looking for quick cash.
So, these following questions will help guide you on your search for the right mechanic for your vehicle.
1. Are they specialized in your car brand?
In Tanzania, many garages are skilled with Toyotas, Nissans, and Hondas. However, if you have a unique car like a Mini Cooper or Jeep, it’s important to find a mechanic who is experienced with those cars, as they will know the parts better and may have the latest training and equipment to fix your vehicle.
2. Do they have a warranty policy?
Before you sign off on a mechanic, ask him what’s his policy if the car isn’t fixed? Or if after a couple of days, the problem comes back. A mechanic worth their salt or who trusts their skills will refund you if they can’t fix the problem.
3. The internet is your friend
Use resources like ZoomTanzania’s business directory to find credible car mechanics in your city. A mechanic that advertises in business directories, Facebook and/or their own website is willingly putting their business out there not only to get more clients, but also to show that they are credible and not a makeshift shop that may be there one day and disappear the next.
Unfortunately, there are no sites specifically dedicated to user reviews of businesses, however, once you find a mechanic/garage listed on ZoomTanzania, you can find their social media pages and see it there are any customer reviews or comments.
4. Where is it located?
For some reason, people don’t usually think of the location of a garage as they assume that they’ll only need to go there once in a while. If it’s far away, and you live in a traffic-heavy city like Dar es Salaam, it may make you lazy to take your car for service, and your mechanic may find it inconvenient to come to your house and check out your car.
Moreover, if your car has serious problems and won’t even start, it may cost you quite a lot to transport it from where it is to the garage. So, unless you have a unique car and this is the best garage to handle its issues, try and find a shop that is conveniently located either closer to where you live or work.
5. Ask your family and friends
While it’s still important to do your own research, having a recommendation from someone you trust is always a good starting point. Moreover, if you find a mechanic through family and friends, and let them know that ‘so and so’ recommended them, they won’t want to risk losing other customers based on your experience with them.
It is important to especially seek recommendations from those who have a vehicle similar to yours.
6. Give the mechanic a test drive before you commit
Once you’ve settled on a mechanic, test them with a small repair and evaluate the experience. Do they communicate well? Do they deliver on time? Do they live up to your expectations? If so, then voila! You’ve found a car doctor that will surely take care of your auto problems and maintenance needs whenever they arise!
The costs and inconveniences of having car problems can be incredibly stressful, but with a great mechanic, the hard times will be so much easier to get through. So what are you waiting for? Start your search for the ideal mechanic right now.