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Updated: June 10, 2024 Know How

Yesterday’s mechanic is today’s technician, and that’s good news

In today’s economy, nothing seems to come cheap anymore. From bar tabs and grocery bills to monthly rent, inflation in America is a harsh reality.

A man in a suit in front of a blue background
Tim Winkeler serves as president and CEO of VIP Tires & Service in Worcester.

While U.S. inflation has slowed, basic expenses can still be incredibly high for many Americans, especially in New England, one of the most expensive regions in the country. Three of the top 10 most expensive states in America are in New England: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

You know what else is expensive? Owning and maintaining a car.

The average annual cost to own and operate a new car is more than $12,000, which includes monthly payments, maintenance, and repairs. The typical driver spends nearly $2,300 a year for full coverage auto insurance. Maintenance and repairs can run up to $1,500 annually. This matters when 56% of U.S. adults wouldn’t use savings to pay for an emergency expense of $1,000, according to a Bankrate survey.

Do you know how to bring the cost down? Find the right automotive professional. Back in the day, auto repairers used to be called mechanics, and they didn’t always have the best reputation. Customers often accused mechanics of overcharging and underdelivering, and many still do. Unfortunately, dishonest or disinterested mechanics still don’t treat their customers right. Worse, they exploit a customer’s lack of knowledge to charge more for less.

Companies in the auto repair industry are changing their ways or learning from the failures of others. Drivers should stay informed about all aspects of their vehicle, from maintenance to the repair process itself. Instead of just finding the closest or cheapest option for a tire replacement or to diagnose a problem, drivers should take the extra time to identify the best possible outcome. The best-case scenario is getting it 100% right. The quickest, cheapest fixes may end up costing someone much more in the long run.

Today, vehicle owners are best served looking for qualified and certified automotive technicians, rather than mere mechanics. Certified technicians or certified automotive professionals have the most knowledge. Because cars have changed so much over the decades, technicians know how to deal with extremely complex, highly computerized vehicles. This requires advanced digital tools, a substantial amount of training, and hands-on experience.

Technicians have the know-how to help drivers make the best decisions. They look at the vehicle holistically, factoring in the technologies to explain why it may be performing inadequately. The emergence of electric vehicles adds to the complexity and computerization of the modern car, but technicians know how to deal with them too. Their skills keep up with the changing times.

Today’s technicians increase their knowledge through Automotive Service Excellence certifications and other formal protocols, such as the training sessions offered by Garage Gurus and the Tire Industry Association certification. These certifications provide assurance of the best possible outcomes when you’re dealing with a vehicle issue.

You want your car working right for the long haul and at an affordable price. You don’t want to keep coming back to the same mechanic because they haven’t solved your problem. But, in 2024, the best solution is a certified automotive professional. Find the right one, and having a car is a lot less stressful.

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