Survey: When it comes to car repairs, use common sense and don't be a millennial

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on February 6, 2014

From The News Desk

Getting a car used to be a rite of passage. Back in the day, I knew I had made it as an independent high schooler once I had my license and a car in my name. My first wheels, a 1992 white Subaru Impreza, was the light of my life. That is, until she died two years later. Did I take good enough care of that all-wheel-drive beast? Well, only the car gods can answer that now. Or my parents, who would probably say "no."

Which leads to an interesting question: Is there a differential between generations and how well they care for their cars?

According to a survey released by the company RepairPal, young people may not care so much for their cars. At least not in many mechanics' estimations. The survey queried 162 auto repair shop owners about trends in their services and general awareness of their clientele. And, I guess unsurprisingly, millennials aren't the most attentive car owners.

One question asked which generation the mechanics thought were the least "car-care conscious." A whopping 48.67 percent of the respondents said "those between the ages of twenty and thirty-four," with the "sixteen to nineteen" crew trailing behind with 47.33 percent of the votes.

In a similar vein, people in the age range of fifty and sixty-four were considered the most car-care conscious.

The survey, however, didn't end there. It looked into general perceptions of other mechanics from the mechanics' point of view. One of the most prescient questions was: "As a mechanic, have you known of other mechanics to take advantage of consumers by overcharging them or performing unnecessary repairs?" 79.19 percent of the respondents said "yes."

This isn't all that surprising; everyone has heard of car-repair horror stories. But it is somewhat disquieting that even mechanics know of their peers screwing over the unknowing consumer. Of course, most of the mechanics asked (41.89 percent) answered that no more than 5 percent of other mechanics do these kind of manipulative practices.

And my dad will be glad to know that his belief that Toyota's are the best car is corroborated by the experts.

When it comes to blindly choosing the best repair-person, the mechanics recommend people use shops that have a third-party certification. It's no surprise, then, that RepairPal, the company behind this survey, is itself a certification of this kind. But let it be known that there are other good certifications out there to be aware of, the most popular one being an ASE sticker (a label from the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence). These types of certifications, along with consumer reviews, are what probably your best bet for choosing the next business to fix your car.

In the end, this is just a nice survey to remind you to have common sense when buying and maintaining automobiles. Cars are expensive, more so if they're not taken care of. A word to the wise, millennials.