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5 trick questions to ask your mechanic

Last update: Jun. 15, 2015, at 2:05 pm

You know the story: you take your car to your neighbourhood garage or your service advisor at the dealership because it’s not running right.


The mechanic throws a bunch of technical jargon at you and gives you a pricey estimate for the repairs. Unless you’re a professional mechanic, it’s practically impossible to know the technical ins and outs of your car. But if you want to show your mechanic you’re not completely ignorant about how it works, here are a few questions to ask.

1. What grade of oil would you recommend for my car?

Some shops can end up with a lot of motor oil on their shelves, and it’s tempting to try to offload it onto unsuspecting customers. But even if the oil is “close” to the grade recommended by your manufacturer, it can still cause long-term damage. Learn what grade you should use (you can find this in your owner’s manual), and make sure your mechanic is telling you the same thing.

2. Are there any recalls on my car that haven’t been performed?

Visit the recalls database on the Transport Canada site and print the list of recalls pertaining to your vehicle. This will let your mechanic know that you’re on top of things. And who knows, maybe some of these repairs have never been done!

3. How’s the tread wear on my tires?

Ask your mechanic for the exact depth of the tread using the x/32'' scale. You should consider replacing your tires if they have reached a depth of 6/32'' or less. This will show that you know whether your tires are still good or need to be replaced.

4. What’s my battery voltage?

A battery in good condition should be between 12.5 and 12.6 volts when the engine and all accessories are off. If your mechanic tells you it needs to be replaced (for no apparent reason), show that you’re in “charge”…

5. Is my coolant concentration okay?

An engine needs coolant to function. The level and concentration of the coolant need to be checked from time to time. Luckily, this is very easy to do and your mechanic should have the tools required to do this.    


Other topics of interest:

Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and to Certas Direct Insurance Company in Ontario and Alberta. Certain restrictions, exclusions and limitations may apply.

Ajusto is available from Desjardins Insurance. ® Ajusto is a registered trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Inc., used with permission by Certas Direct Insurance Company. The discount does not apply to certain endorsements and additional coverages. It will be automatically applied to the premium at the time of renewal. Ajusto is only available in Ontario and Quebec.

All information is provided for information purposes only, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for it. We recommend using caution and consulting a property and casualty insurance agent for comprehensive, personalized advice.

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