Smart Car Repair
Like most vehicles, there are always two completely separate considerations to repairs and other work you may need done on your Smart. There are two components involved in your price – and they will probably be familiar to you because these exist with all cars.
This is the easiest to understand. The costs of parts should be the same or very similar from one region to the next. Occasionally, there are additional or expedited shipping variable to consider. The cost should be fairly close, regardless of where you have you Smart serviced.
Labor costs are far more variable and have wide swings; they may often fluctuate greatly from one locale to another. Another consideration is the make and model of the Smart for which you are seeking service.
As with many kinds of vehicles, skills and level of expertise can even be attributed to different model years of your fortwo. Independent smart repair centers.
When you weigh these factors, ask questions. Know what the hourly rates are for the shop and area you are in. They should be set at a fixed amount-per-hour. Service directories kept by dealers will also give them approximations on the amount of time needed for all repairs.
Hourly rates can be as low as $60-per-hour, but can also be as high as $150-per-hour. Always ask if the shop offers a flat rate on some repairs that are well-established and constant – regardless of geography.
A standard type of transmission repair may be set at $1,000. Keep in mind, like all businesses, repair centers exist to make enough of a profit to keep their lights on and doors open. They have other ongoing costs like having the right tools and equipment to repair your vehicle. The price you pay is rarely – if ever – the pure cost of parts and labor. And the bulk of the costs are rarely, if ever, pocketed solely by the mechanics doing the work.
The Smart line of dealerships and repair facilities is growing as this is being written. Like many other car lines, there will be opportunities that exist for you to have repairs done by a qualified third-party shop or mechanic. Consider, these independent shops must have the same training as dealer technicians in order to be certified or qualified to perform the work.
The important consideration is that these independents will often be less expensive than dealers to achieve the same results. If you are looking to save money on the cost of repairs and service, the growth of these independents can help you achieve this goal.
The important question you must ask as a consumer is: Are they certified by Smart to do the work? If they are, you can have confidence the work will be done in the same manner a dealer would do it.
Working With the Service Center at the Dealership
It’s important to be specific about what you need done when you go to a Smart dealer for repairs or service. Often, the service representative and mechanic who actually does the work will be two separate people. Here are the steps to take to make sure you get what you want done:
Write everything down and give a copy to the service representative.
Make sure s/he knows that anything not in writing is not authorized until they call you for approval.
Ask questions before you leave your vehicle. If you don’t know what the exact problems are – what will the cost be to do the diagnosis? Describe what is going on verbally and in writing – as best you can.
If you are a typical Smart fortwo owner, you aren’t a mechanic. It isn’t necessary to get technical and this is what you are paying them to do.
Will they call you before beginning repairs on anything not already discussed and in writing?
How long will the repairs take? If longer than a day, always ask about an overnight loaner. Even if a loaner isn’t provided free, it will often be at very low cost. Nothing is worse than not having transportation at all.
When the service representative is writing your work order, make sure their work order duplicates what you have in writing.
Most misunderstandings about any repairs on your Smart will be due to what isn’t clearly said or stated in writing – not what is. The more clearly you state your concerns, the better your results will be, and generally – the lower your costs will be too.
Mechanics hate to be called about every consideration – after you’ve left. If you are the impatient type, calling them every hours also won’t make the work go faster. Consider that bothering them to answer the phone may have the effect of slowing them down. You don’t want your repairs rushed anyway.
Who wants haphazard work done on something as vital as their transportation?
There is little need to worry and they can’t get paid until the work is finished. You can be sure they will call you.