It does not matter whether you bought a new car or a fairly use or if you are on your way to purchasing one, as often as you ply Lagos roads, you are bound to need a mechanic within 3months maximum, not for service, but for repair. It gets worse. Almost every bus-stop has an auto mechanic shop close to you.
‘Oga, haaa, na your compreso… Ha! Madam, na your fuel pump… you nor dey hear the noise? Na your brake pad, all of them don finish! Even your shock absorver don go.’ Lies, sounding familiar?
We use the word “engineer” loosely in Nigeria. Once you can successfully string two or three wires and somewhat strike a connection, you deserve the same distinguished title as someone that has struggled day and night, for a couple of years, toiling, sweating and hustling for the same title. Sounds familiar, right?
Typically, a mechanic should be certified by a trade association, government power, or a certified automobile specialist. However, the case is not the same in Nigeria, where anyone that can turn and screw, is a mechanic. These street mechanics have damaged a lot of cars and waste hard-earned resources of struggling Nigerians. Sometimes, they know the cause, but wants to keep you coming back and spending, at other times, they are just ignorant and greedy.
No wonder the elites (loosely so-called) take their cars to auto care companies and spend huge sums even on “ordinary car service” (50k and above?). They pay far more for repairs. But are these auto-care companies the way forward?
Firstly, many average Nigerians cannot afford them. More so, upon De Critic’s investigation, we found that some of those companies who have experienced graduates in the field are still unable to fix some cars despite huge sums received. The only advantage here is that the customer can recover any sum spent and the auto-companies have their reputation and business to protect. We also found some specialized automobile mechanics in Nigeria like Tyler Garage, Yonda Autocare, Auto-Profs automobile services, Carmax, to mention but a few. But the cost is the problem. And when we consider the Lagos road factor and the likelihood of coming back after 3months…?
Only recently, the National Automotive Design and Development Council conducted research on skill deficiencies among Nigerian auto mechanics and it was discovered that there were inadequacies on comprehending the electrical and electronic systems of modern cars, amongst other challenges like the use of proper car repair tools, equipment and material handling, almost non-existent workshop management and organisation, lack of environmental consciousness and non-adherence to safety standards while performing car repair tasks.
Undoubtedly, we will continue to have unnecessary repeated visits to these same street and auto mechanics, if we cannot have a lasting solution of leaving AutoCare in the hands of actual AutoCare specialists. The greater mayhem lies in the fact that these supposed mechanics are so confident in their ineptitude, that they do not only claim to be experts but also pass on their ignorance to their apprentices, who pass it on, till we are awash with a proliferation of unqualified auto mechanics.
Who do you leave your car with? Do you entrust your car to actual auto care professional, or you are quick to take chances with roadside charlatans that charge you less but leave your car in shambles? The next time you have an encounter with a mechanic, demand for a certificate of training. If he doesn’t have it, chances are that he/she doesn’t understand what they are doing. Your car, more likely than not, is about to be used for test and learn. Run fast! In the end, we need an honest and expert automobile mechanic in Lagos.
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