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Ask the Mechanic: Car troubles? Videos online may not be the best help

In today’s column we discuss why using online videos to address car troubles may not be the best idea and how professionals feel about installing parts customers purchase themselves.
Nida Zafar
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Every week, we take your questions about what is going on under the hood of your vehicle and pose them to a knowledgeable mechanic in the Greater Toronto Area. In today’s column we discuss why using online videos to address car troubles may not be the best idea and how professionals feel about installing parts customers purchase themselves.

Dear Ask a Mechanic,

When I have issues with my car, I like to turn to the internet to look at videos of what others have done. I’m curious to know, is this something that you as a professional recommend? – Internet savvy

Barry Butazia, owner of Lucky Eight Auto Repair and Tires Ltd. does not recommend watching videos online to find solutions for car troubles because it can contribute to clouded judgment and possible misdiagnosis. “It’s almost like Googling symptoms that you have before seeing a doctor. You’ll find more often than not, you’re wrong.” He believes people partially rely on these videos because there’s a lack of trust in the industry; customers may feel they’re being charged for things they’re not comfortable with or don’t need. Butazia said it’s important to build trust and having an open line of communication can help. “Once you find someone to trust, you might find that you’re better off having a professional assess your issues, rather than letting the internet do it.”

Dear Ask a Mechanic, 

I bought myself new wheels. I believe I purchased the right ones for my vehicle. Is this something any service provider can install? Can you install any parts I buy myself? – Personal shopper

Butazia said it depends on who you go to as not everyone will be able to install customer supplied parts. “It’s almost like bringing a steak to the steak house, where [some] people frown upon that stuff.” Butazia said he will help customers in this situation but there’s a couple things to keep in mind whenever a shop allows this. The most important being a mechanic may not honour the warranty on the product because it’s not something they purchased themselves. If there was an issue with a part Butazia ordered, a call to his parts supplier will likely lead to a resolution. In this case, the onus is on the customer. If the part is incorrect or defective, any labour costs involved would also be the customer’s problem.

Ask a Mechanic is written by Nida Zafar, a reporter at The Pointer who grew up in a house full of mechanics in Scarborough, and occasionally poses your questions to her dad or brother. You can send your questions to wheels@thestar.ca. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.

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