How to Decide if You Should Take Your Car to a Repair Shop or a Mobile Mechanic
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- Mobile services
- Traditional garages
- Insurance coverage
- Mobile mechanics come to you
- How to contact mobile mechanics
Mobile mechanics can be cheaper and more convenient than repair shops, but they still have some drawbacks.
Everyone who owns a car is familiar with the traditional mechanic’s garage, but recent years have seen the rise of mobile mechanic services. These outfits save on the overhead costs of a garage by taking things directly to the customer. Despite their benefits though, it’s still wise to keep traditional shops in mind when more extensive repairs are needed.
Luckily, here at car insurance and broker app Jerry, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to help you choose between a mobile mechanic and a shop.
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Mobile services are quick, convenient and generally cheaper than shops
Mobile mechanic services have seen a sudden upsurge, with companies like YourMechanic offering a sweeter deal for customers than they’re used to having from a regular garage. If there’s an issue with your car, you can call a mobile mechanic and they will come directly to your home to look things over and make the repairs on-site. Affordable mobile mechanics operate out of vans that carry a lot of the tools found in traditional mechanic garages.
It goes without saying that having a mechanic come to you is much more convenient than leaving your vehicle at a shop and being left without transportation. Many would agree that logistics issues and being without a car are some of the most aggravating aspects of a mechanic experience.
Surprisingly, mobile mechanics are often able to offer these benefits at a lower cost than their shop counterparts. By saving on the expensive overhead of a physical shop, mobile mechanics may be as much as 30% cheaper for labor costs. And without the potential for supervision and oversight, the mechanics hired for these mobile positions tend to be very experienced.
Key Takeaway: Mobile mechanics can come directly to your home for repairs, saving you from having to leave your car at a shop. And since no shop means no overhead costs for them, mobile mechanics can also charge you up to 30% less.
The traditional garage nonetheless offers the fullest service
There is every reason to feel excited about mobile mechanics, and once customers give it a try, they’re usually inclined to keep it up. However, it wouldn’t be fair at all to say that garages are obsolete. Rather, whether your car is better suited for a mobile appointment or a stint in the shop largely depends on how bad the issues at hand are.
In the event that your car is damaged and needs fresh parts to replace the old ones, a garage will have a stockpile of parts at hand. This won’t usually be an issue for garages, but mobile mechanics would need to custom-order the part, significantly increasing the time and cost of the repairs. For these larger repairs, a mobile mechanic may not have the utilities at hand to do everything. Unless your home garage has all of the same tools as a pro shop, the convenience will come at least with some cost to what the mechanic can do.
This should not be taken to mean that mobile mechanics are limited in what they can offer. On the contrary, many mobile service customers are impressed by just how much the mechanic can do without a shop. Nonetheless, the limited van space and lack of an on-hand parts stockpile makes a mobile mechanic less convenient for major car repairs.
Key Takeaway Although mobile mechanics offer convenience and relatively cheap prices, traditional garages are better equipped to make a wider range of repairs.
Your insurance coverage can factor into your decision
Your insurance provider will always have preferred services for what they’re willing to pay for. However, as mobile mechanics tend to be significantly cheaper than their shop counterparts, most insurers should be open to covering this as a viable alternative.
If your car breaks down on the road without a roadside assistance add-on in your insurance policy, you can still avoid paying hundreds of dollars in towing fees. Just contact a mobile mechanic to the spot to have them make the necessary fixes. This can backfire if you need to tow the vehicle anyways, but it should be considered if you think that the problem could be fixed on-site.
You’ll need to provide a mobile mechanic with a place to work
If you’re hiring a mobile mechanic, it helps to have a garage they’re able to work in. This business model lacks a shop, so it’s up to the customer themselves to provide an area that’s safe and practical for car work.
You are going to want to offer a place that is solid, dry and flat, so remember that the weather can factor in heavily. While a garage or car park are safe bets, rain and other weather complications can get in the way. Every mobile mechanic will have their own weather policy; you should ask if you think this might be an issue at all.
If you don’t have a garage of your own for the mechanic to use, it may help to ask to use a neighbor’s. Otherwise, you can park the car underneath an overhang to keep things dry while the mechanic works.
Key Takeaway: Mobile mechanics don’t have a shop, so you’ll have to provide them a place to work that is solid, dry, and flat, like a garage or covered parking lot. Weather can affect service even with a good location though, so be sure to ask your mechanic for their policy on that.
How to get in touch with a mobile mechanic service
Review websites like Yelp and car-specific outlets such as AutoMD should be able to direct you to mobile mechanics serving your area. YourMechanic is one fast-growing mobile repair startup that provides a high level of quality and affordable service. They sponsor mechanics across the country, and are worth looking into if it applies to your area.
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How much is a mobile mechanic?
That’s up to the mechanic themselves, but the good news is that most mobile mechanics charge less than actual repair shops. According to some estimates, they can be around 30% cheaper than an actual repair shop. That places their cost at around $50 per hour of service—though it depends on the exact problem.
How do I find a good mobile car mechanic?
Your best bet is to do some research, ask for credentials, and be very specific about what your exact problem is. Mobile mechanics have to be qualified to work without supervision, but you need to make sure they can deal with your problem! Never be afraid to ask questions, and you’ll find the right one for you. Services like Wrench and YourMechanic compile local mechanics in your area too.
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