Saturday, 25 April 2009


Because of this week, I have certainly become much more confident about the mechanical aspects of cars and could probably carry out some first aid to a stranded vehicle. I am very grateful for my friends at the garage giving me their time and patience and teaching me so much.

Dedmans Mechanics 

(Mark, Nigel, Mark and Darren)

I have also learnt how important it is to have a relationship with a garage you can trust. Trust means that they will repair your car properly, will not invent things which are not wrong and have an absolute commitment to quality and the customer. Dedman’s are definitely such a garage.

However during the week I was shown an example of the disreputable side of the motor industry. A car had been taken into a main dealer in Stortford for fault diagnosis and repair. A mechanic there disassembled the engine and told the customer that a new engine was needed because of two faults, a burnt through valve and scoring on the inside of one cylinder. The customer was not satisfied with this diagnosis and asked Dedman’s to collect the car and give her a second opinion.

Their opinion was that whilst the first fault was a genuine one and fairly cheap to repair, the second had been created deliberately by the mechanic with a screwdriver. I was told the mechanic would have been on “fault related pay” – the more faults they found, the more he would have been paid in bonus. An independent assessor had looked at the engine and had immediately said “that was caused deliberately” – discussions are now underway with that main dealer as to compensation etc. Another nearby branch of this dealer in Harlow was also named as one where repair work was invented or created.

When down at the MOT station on Friday, the conversation was about a customer whose car had just failed an MOT test (for numerous reasons) but had paid for certain work to be done by a local garage just up the road which had obviously not been done at all.

Will I be repairing my own vehicles from now onwards? No way! Unless you are a dedicated enthusiast and have lots of equipment, confidence and skills, car repair and maintenance is best left to the professionals, provided you can find a garage you can trust – as I have.

It was a great week which I thoroughly enjoyed. I learnt a lot, made £10 and now have a lot more confidence with mechanical things. Will my knowledge be of use in the wilds of Australia? Hopefully I will never find out.

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