Mobile mechanic: Cost versus convenience

Mobile mechanics are a popular choice for busy people. If you need car repair in the...

Mobile mechanics are a popular choice for busy people. If you need car repair in the Atlanta area, you can call a mobile mechanic to fix your car right in your driveway or on the side of the road. But are mobile mechanics the right choice for you? Learn how to choose a one, what price range to expect, and what mobile mechanics can and cannot do.

Know what to expect...

Mobile mechanics can be more convenient than traditional mechanics because their entire business model is based on coming to you. You can schedule an automotive service at your home or in the parking lot at work, which is far easier and more convenient than rushing to the shop on your lunch break. If you are stranded at the side of the road, a mobile mechanic may be able to fix your car on the spot and save you the cost of a tow truck. Good ones can take care of routine car maintenance services like oil changes, tire rotations and brake checks. They can also handle the majority of emergency repairs, but before you commit, ask about the service's limitations and make sure that you know what to expect.

...And expect some limitations

Although most mobile mechanics should be well-equipped and well-stocked with appropriate parts, keep in mind that some car repairs may still require a part that must be ordered or equipment that is not available on the roadside. Expect your mobile mechanic to be capable of handling most repairs, but be prepared to call for a tow or for longer service in an automotive shop just in case your repair is out of the ordinary.

Hire someone reputable

Although most mobile mechanics are honest, serious professionals, there are many dodgy dealers out there. When you are shopping for a good mechanic, ask about Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) licensing, check reviews online on sites such as Kudzu, and check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable, reliable business.

Shop around

Most mobile mechanics advertise that their services are less expensive than traditional mechanics, but look past the advertisements and call several Atlanta mechanics - both mobile and traditional - and compare prices yourself. In general, expect to pay roughly what you would pay a traditional mechanic; any cost difference should not be drastic. Hourly rates will be around $75, plus the cost of parts.

Get a warranty

Ask about warranties on parts and labor. Warranties may cover a part or repair for a limited time like 90 days or a year, for a specified number of miles or for the rest of the car's life; look for a mobile mechanic that offers warranties on par with those at traditional mechanics.

Choosing between a mobile mechanic and a traditional one at a repair shop comes down to your situation. If you need the convenience of a mechanic coming to you, then a mobile service is definitely worth looking into.

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