What doctors are to patients are what mechanics should be to cars. And just as there are quacks even in this elite practice of medicine, mechanics have their fair share of ‘professional assassins’, where the target is your car and certainly, your wallet.
While mechanics are often good at what they do, the following you must know before asking your ‘Naija’ mechanic to help inspect and validate, your next automobile purchase:
- Most Nigerian mechanics are by practice, Jack of all trades, masters of none. They claim to be able to work on all cars from Peugeot to Benz, from Volvo to Toyota and from Daewoo to Ferrari. Unfortunately, this has its cons. As with medical practice, general physicians can give you a guide, but specialists in the matter of concern, come highly recommended.
Every car manufacturer, mostly across continents, differ in their technologies. So German engines would typically differ from their American counterparts and Korean design layouts will stand out from their English competition. Asking a very skilled mechanic, who routinely serves Asian brands, to go inspect and help buy a BMW on your behalf, might be equivalent to using your funds to lobby for marathon expenses in the name of a new car. If and where you can find a specialist for the brand you intend to buy, s/he will always be the wisest choice over the common versions of ‘general merchandise’.
- From our years of experience, there are assumptions most mechanics make, which either due to haste or sheer pride, denies them the need to drill down into key details of the car. E.g. I have seen mechanics who on seeing a car with fantastic exterior (especially so-called first body) and with a sound engine, conclude that the car is okay, without a test-drive to ascertain the condition of the gear and suspension. This is an often-costly mistake and the debit alerts will be received by the new owner. While experience can help you discern a lot, there’s a reason most professionals, especially foreign, use a checklist for something they have done, a zillion times.
- With OBD diagnostic tools these days, any rabbit can check the diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) of a vehicle. The issue however is, most mechanics who wield these tools know where to plug the cable but not how to interpret the generated codes in relation to symptoms presented by the vehicles. Some error codes for instance, which have although been sorted out and have moved to the ‘history’ in the brainbox memory, will not be the same as those that are captured as ‘current’. Mechanics who can tell these apart with knowledge and experience are as rare as an eclipse.
- Some mechanics have mastered the art of insisting that if they have to pass a vehicle as ‘good-to-buy’, the seller has to give them something decent. Cash of course! Now, whether the car is good or not, such a practice of corruption blindfolds them from potential major repairs and wallet drains. The common cliché is “na where person dey work, e dey chop”. The consequence is that they get paid by the buyer and seller for ‘showing up’ and still end up getting paid for fixing the issues they deliberately glossed over, all at the expense of the unsuspecting new owner.
- I have yet to meet with a mechanic who goes the extra mile of doing a VIN check on the vehicle in view, to ascertain a history that might encourage or deter the purchase. And one might say, but he’s experienced and that should help unearth if there were impacts and the severity of damage. Yet, this isn’t the only benefit of a VIN check. With a VIN check, he might find that the car was flooded and with this information understand why there’s the problem of electrical issues which the dishonest owner had earlier claimed was a very minor problem.
Right next to buying a house and the cost of wedding expenses in this part of the world, cars are significantly our most expensive purchases. It makes infinite sense to do as much due diligence on these vehicles. Employing the use of mechanics is great, yet, you must know what you are looking for, who to hire for such inspections and what additional checks you must do before pouring your sweat into a seller’s account.
For detailed inspections, diagnoses, VIN checks, Customs duty verification and cost analysis of repairs, contact CARvity.com via firstname.lastname@example.org or simply chat us up via WhatsApp on 08095506677.