What are the risks of using an informal or unauthorised mechanic?

5 July 2016

So you know a guy, who knows a guy who can fix your bumper and install a new sound system for just a couple of hundred rands, “Bargain!” - or is it?


Backyard garage, unreliable parts?

Many informal mechanics at unapproved or ‘backyard’ garages use aftermarket parts rather than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.

Used for repairs, the majority of these (aftermarket items) are just cheaper, inferior versions of their OEM counterparts. Not manufactured according to the required manufacturer standards, they may not be as harsh on your bank balance as original components, but - are they reliable?

According to Ford computer-simulated crash tests, the answer is a clear… NO.

Ford found that if your car was repaired with cheap bumper replacement parts, your air bag may not deploy as expected - or needed. Because their reliability and safety are questionable, it is advisable to pay the extra money and only replace your car parts with original ones.

Informal mechanic, informal training on your car

Your car is unique, just like you – that may be what drew you to purchasing that specific model and colour in the first place.

Although an informal mechanic may have worked on hundreds of cars, chances are that they are not trained on your car – especially to the level of the dealership workshop mechanic approved by your manufacturer.

Risking your warranty!

You may think that it is harmless to add some extra style to your wheels, but having it done at any unapproved dealership could cause serious damage to vital components like… your engine or electrical system. Having a radio fitted at an unapproved dealership for example, could lead to a variety of electrical problems. This means that, if something does go wrong, it is not a result of a defect and your warranty* on these components will be at risk.

Having saved a few bucks in the moment is then likely to cost you more in the long run – a new engine or electrical systems does not come cheap!

If you have an unanswered motoring-related question that you think is vital to your motor-happiness, share it with us in the comments section.

* All warranties (original or extended), service plans, maintenance plans, and roadside assistance packages differ in terms of features, benefits and, terms and conditions. This blog is for illustration purposes only.


This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information in this article is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the information contained in this article.

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