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Should You Let Your Friend Repair Your Vehicle?

BY: Larry Witherspoon Jr.
A mechanic repairing part of a vehicle's engine.

When something goes wrong with your vehicle, your mind will immediately go to the cost. This is entirely natural since car repairs can run the gamut between cheap and easy and incredibly pricey. When you start to think about the worst-case scenario, it’s common to begin to look for other options for your vehicle’s repair.

Many people have friends or even a family member who are shade-tree mechanics and claim to have a vast knowledge of auto repairs. When mentioning your issue to them, they will probably be more than happy to give you a ‘free consultation’ to see if they can fix the problem for next-to-nothing. While this might seem like the answer to your situation, the unfortunate truth is it can often mean much bigger problems in the future.

So, Should You Let a Friend Work on Your Car?

Letting a friend work on your car is never a good idea. As a mechanic, I have had to re-do work that well-meaning friends or family members have done on customers’ cars time and time again. Unfortunately, this has often resulted in a more challenging, more expensive fix than it would have been if they had just brought the car into the shop in the first place.

It isn’t just the lack of quality control that makes letting a friend work on your car a bad idea, either. I have put together a list of issues this can bring up to fully understand why it is always best to have a professional do any repairs on your vehicle. It will save you quite a bit of trouble with your car and might even save your friendship in the long run.

Why Not Let a Friend Work on Your Car?

1.  They Could Make the Issue Worse

Perhaps the biggest reason not to let a friend repair your car is the fact that they could end up exacerbating the problem. They can have all the car knowledge in the world, but a simple misdiagnosis could end up costing you a fortune and end up leaving you without a car for a while. That’s why it is always best to have a professional mechanic work on your vehicle, as they have diagnostic equipment that will ensure they are fixing the right area of the car.

A professional mechanic will have the tools to do the job right the first time. They won’t have to cut corners because they are missing something like an impact wrench or hydraulic lift. A professional mechanic will have access to all of these tools, allowing them to do the job correctly and promptly.

2.  No Insurance

Even if they mean well, the odds are slim that your friend’s insurance covers enough to be able to compensate you for an expensive mistake — if they even have any insurance at all. Instead, a licensed mechanic will have their own insurance that protects you and them from any mistakes that could happen in the process of fixing your car. With Auto Shop Repair Insurance coverage, you can rest assured that the shop will cover any damage that might occur should something slip through the cracks.

This insurance also covers things like equipment failure should you receive a faulty replacement part. When you get your repairs done by a friend, you can’t be sure where they are sourcing their parts. This could potentially lead to big problems down the line. By hiring a licensed mechanic, you can rest easy knowing that the insurance company is backing their work financially.

3.  You Are Liable

One of the most often overlooked things when a friend or family member offers to fix your car is the fact that you are liable for their safety. Should your friend do something unsafe like put the car up on cinder blocks and it results in personal injury, you could end up being legally responsible for that. Getting sued for medical bills, possible property damage, and dealing with law firms is much more costly than bringing your car into a licensed mechanic in the first place, even if you would be dealing with a deductible or not.

A licensed shop will have all of its liability coverage worked out in-house. Therefore, you will not be held responsible should the mechanic injure themselves working on the car. Additionally, a licensed mechanic will not be using any unsafe methods that your friend might be more likely to use in their driveway, so any risk of personal injury is significantly reduced to those working on your vehicle.

4.  Lack of Official Information

A friend offering to fix your car will not have official information on it that the manufacturer distributes. Things like recalls are essential to have access to, and your friend will not know if something has come up since you purchased the vehicle. Not having this kind of information could lead to significant safety issues down the road that could have been avoided if you had known something needed to be fixed or replaced.

A licensed mechanic at any repair shop will have the most up-to-date information on the make and model of your vehicle. They will know if a part has been recalled or of a known issue that needs to be corrected right away. The automaker sends this information to mechanics to have on file and will often replace parts for free if there is a manufacturing defect. If you don’t take your car to a licensed mechanic, you may never find out about it.

5.  It Could Void Your Warranty

Depending on your car, taking it to anyone other than a licensed mechanic could void your warranty. There are all kinds of stipulations in your car’s warranty that you need to adhere to if you don’t want to render it null. Letting your friend work on your vehicle could leave you out of luck should you wish to take advantage of your warranty later on.

Taking your car to a licensed mechanic or the dealership will ensure that you are in compliance with the warranty. They will adhere to all the conditions set forth by that agreement to be sure you can still benefit from it after their work is done. However, your friend will probably not know how to navigate these complicated contracts and do the job in such a way that keeps them valid.

Rest Easy With a Licensed Mechanic

Even as a mechanic myself, I encourage my friends and family members with car trouble to take their vehicle to an ASE Certified repair shop. This will help them avoid some of the pitfalls that can come with letting a well-intentioned friend do the work for them. With EnduranceAdvantage™, Endurance’s protection plan, you can save up to $3,500 in maintenance and auto repairs without having to worry about any of the issues laid out above.

Request a free, no-obligation quote today.

Frequently Asked Questions

●     When is a Car Not Worth Fixing

If you are constantly in need of auto repairs, it may be time to start thinking about a new vehicle. Measuring the cost of repairs against the price of a new car is an excellent way to gauge how close you are to that threshold. On top of that, the aggravation of having an unreliable vehicle could make getting it repaired not worth the effort and expense.

●     Should I Take My Car to the Dealer or a Mechanic?

If your car is still under warranty, you will definitely want to take it to the dealer for any repairs. Your warranty should cover auto repairs up to your contract limit until its time is up. Dealerships also have to work under the standards of the manufacturer. This means they will want to make sure you are completely satisfied with the work they have done.

●     Can a 20 Year Old Car be Reliable?

A 20-year-old car can be reliable if it has been properly maintained and treated with care. Fixing any issues as they come up and not letting them become more significant problems is incredibly important. Being a responsible motorist and taking in your car for routine maintenance and timely repairs can help increase the odds of it being reliable 20 years after its production.

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