Car Repair in Singapore: Find the Right Mechanic

They say finding a mechanic is like interviewing a job applicant. Which is a total load of horse dung. Job applicants don’t have a wrench clamped around your… carburettor. And what questions are you going to ask a mechanic that he can’t lie about anyway? Most of us can’t tell a rim clamp from a tampon. So without any training of your own, how can you tell a mechanic is worth his price? Well read on and I’ll reveal the signs…

 

Kemanche playing mechanic

Auto-shop promotions get more fancy every year.


1. Look At Their Workshops

Serious workshops will never be clean. Short of an investment banker’s lifestyle, you won’t find more dirt anywhere in the country. But while they can’t be spotless, they can be organized. And that’s a visible quality. Just run your eyes across the room:

  • Are the tools grouped together, or thrown into a random pile?
  • Are all the vehicle parts grouped according to size and type, or scattered across the floor?
  • On the tyre racks, are the tyres arranged by size, or does it look like the Michelin Man is having a lie down?
  • Do you see any calendars, planners, or whiteboard schedules? Have a look and see what’s written on them.

Experienced mechanics are organized. They arrange things in strict order, because they’re too busy to spend time looking for things. And they’re probably too busy to stop and clean.

 

2. Pay Attention to Their Receipts

More than any other business, mechanics rely on word-of-mouth. When was the last time you saw a TV ad for an auto workshop? Yeah, never. So most of their promotion comes from reputation. Good mechanics won’t just give you a detailed receipt, they’ll insist on walking you through the items. They’re suffering to get you discounts, and you’re going to sit down and hear about it.

If your receipt is a scribbled, illegible note, and the mechanic is tight lipped, then look out. You may be dealing with someone who doesn’t care if you come back.

 

Long Bill

"And after he explained every item, he broke into interpretive dance."

 

3. Look at the Toolbox

Have you seen the tool storage used by serious mechanics? If you murdered a T-Rex you could hide the body in there. Mechanics acquire their (expensive) tools over several years. A veteran mechanic has a collection so huge, Black & Decker probably uses him as their catalogue.

If you see every mechanic sharing out of one or two toolboxes, it’s a sign they haven’t been around too long. Doesn’t mean they’re bad, but they’re probably inexperienced.

 

4. Test Water First

Before getting a mechanic to do major work, try them out with something small. Have them top up your air-con gas, or change your oil. A professional will not have the inclination (or the time) to suggest adding something to the bill. They’ll do the job, give you a proper receipt, and that’s it.

Watch out for the ones who nag you into buying more services (e.g. “I suspect something is wrong with part XYZ, let me change it since you’re here”) Also note if they added any hidden costs to your bill.

 

Hulk painted on car

"When changing your tyres I noticed your car is quite boring, so I added an extra service…"

 

5. Know Their Speciality

Some mechanics specialize in certain brands or parts. If you have a Mercedes or BMW, it’s quite easy to find a specialized mechanic in Singapore. Others may specialize in certain services, like attaching body kits or brake fitting. The best way to find specialists is on car forums. Ask owners of specific models where they go to.

Don’t take the mechanic’s word for it. In many cases, there’s no actual certification to say who specializes in what.

 

6. Be Sensitive About Your Parts

Note what happens when the mechanic changes your car parts. If a replacement was fitted for you, ask to see the original. Good mechanics don’t even wait to be asked; they’re quick to show you the original and ask if you still want it. Dodgy mechanics may only claim to have replaced parts.

*Special thanks to Mr. Yap Chee Teng, a former mechanic, for his help.

 

Wrecked Car

"I usually keep the original parts. But in this case, they were screaming in pain and I couldn't take it any more."

 

Some Suggestions

In order to save you the trouble, MoneySmart has located some popular and reliable mechanics. These are:

Monggo Motions – This father and son team (Mt. Tay and James) are passionate about cars. They don’t suggest unnecessary parts, so you won’t have to overhaul your bank account as well. They also have a following of long-term customers, who will testify to that. Go to:

14 Pandan Loop, Pandan Light Ind Pk (Blk K),
Singapore 128232

GSC Auto Services - This name comes up in local car forums a lot. I’ve only been there once, and that was an emergency. Still, they did a decent job. Overhauling my car air-con (that’s an emergency okay?) was only $115. They even called me a week later and asked if it was working alright (it was). Go to:

Sin Ming Autocare, #02-04, 176 Sin Ming Drive
Singapore 575721

Huat Lee Batteries & Motor Service - Recommended by a close friend, whom I wouldn’t trust with a funfair bumper car. He’s gone to Huat Lee for each of his spectacular crashes, and apparently their prices are competitive. They specialize in Korean cars, and their turnaround time is fast. Go to:

Kaki Bukit Hose 1
Kaki Bukit Ave 6, BLK C #01-66
Singapore 417883

Image Credits:

KellyLISPhil G’s PhotostreamGreylockJJ the JesterWinterwined

Do you have a favourite mechanic? Comment and let us know!

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.



More From MoneySmart
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

  • ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’
    ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’

    Conflict in the South China Sea can affect economic growth and stability in Southeast Asia, New Zealand warned yesterday, amid China’s aggressive reclamation activities in disputed waters. New Zealand is marking its 40 th year of diplomatic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and hopes to intensify trade and other linkages with the 10-member grouping. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China over the Spratly …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options