How much cleaniness can I expect or ask for from a mechanic?

My experience at different car shops has been:

no floor mat protection, no seat cover, finger prints on the hood, or door or where ever the mechanic worked-

I have a white car, and the smudges were always visible. I always felt apprehension to say something. I started putting newspaper on the floor, and cover up the seat and clean the finger prints myself. But I feel I should not have to do it or am I too picky??

When the car was at a dealership for repair, I noticed that more care was offered: the floor was protected, plastic seat cover, no finger prints.

Ask for it. Those precautions should be taken.

I asked for it the last time and was told then, they would put covers out, if their clothes were dirty!. He was in a dirty uniform, with grease, oil stains…! I had to keep from laughing out loud at his audacity.

Cleanliness is one indicator of a repair shop’s attention to detail. My view is that if shop personnel think it’s too much trouble to go to to keep a customer’s car free of greasy fingerprints or dirty coveralls off the upholstery, they’ll probably also find it too much trouble to pay good attention to the mechanical work they’re performing. A generalization to be sure, but when you’re looking around for a good, reliable independent to build a long-term relationship with, all the indicators count.

I agree. The best shops, independent or otherwise, take these precautions routinely. If your mechanic can’t keep your car clean, find another mechanic.

This is something that varies considerably from one shop to another. While dealerships tend to more careful about this factor than private shops, this is not necessarily always true.

Several years ago, my brother had repairs done on his Camry at the dealership. I don’t recall what was being replaced, but it was definitely an internal engine part. He requested that the old part be kept for his inspection. When he picked up the car, the old part–complete with a liberal coating of oil–was sitting on his console. Only with considerable cleaning was he able to remove the oil that spread on the console. And, yes, that was the last time that he patronized DeFeo Toyota in Jersey City, NJ.

To be safe, when you drop your car off you should mention to the salesman that “Please be sure the mechanic keeps the car very clean” or something. Many shops have the floor mats and covers, but are too lazy to use them except on special request.

You are not being too picky. You have a few choices:

  1. Make sure they cover the seats and floor mats. Make sure they don’t put their grubby hands on yuor clean paint. If they do, they can clean it off. that may mean it needs to be washed and waxed, which they should pay for, too.

  2. Cover the seats and floors yourself. Insist that they clean any messy areas outside as above.

  3. get over it.

  4. Find a new shop that takes care of your car in the way you expect.

I have covered the seat and floor many times, and cleaned the smudges left on the car.

I will ask for the fingerprints to be removed next time. I guess I just can’t worry if I might hurt their feelings.

Keeping yourself,your shop,your employees,and your customers cars clean should be a “no-brainer”, trouble is it isn’t.

Ideally, your car should be fixed and as clean or better than when you brought it in.

your car is treated as though I’m paying your car payment(and Im not)you people pay too much! and work too hard ,and over pay monthly for 4 wheels and a steering wheel. you are you ,the car does not make you who you are,its an object.and a simple means of transportation. it will never be cleaner ,but the same as you brought it in.

good day!

No one will be a slob with my property (capitalist swine that I am).

I started in trade school by wearing my light blue shop shirt to the cafeteria at lunchtime. It generated complaints from the other students because the sleeves were black from the elbow down. I eventually cured the problem by getting dark blue shirts. The Ford dealer where my recall work was done would wash my car when they were done with it. I was impressed and never missed having my recall work done; usually after driving on the sanded roads after a snow storm. The sloppy places have a message. We aren’t going to demean ourselves by trying to impress the customer, after all, we are professionals.


all I ask for from the car repair shop is to get my car back as clean as I turn it in -
most of them failed to do that= so I wonder if it’s more common than not

I Don’t Even Ask For That. I Can Clean It. I Just Want It Back With No Damage!
My local GM dealer does provide a free hand-wash with every car serviced, though.

replace “ask” with “expect” in my last comment -

good point about getting it back without damage, I still remember getting my first new car back from the dealership with a nice quarter size dent on the hood after a routine maintenance -

the issue I have is that the car is dirtier than when I turn it in for repair

I once picked up my car from a shop, and could tell that the employees had been smoking cigars while working on my car. It stank for over a month. I never went back to the place.
I am not the type of person who keeps their car clean, by any means. One time I got into an accident when my car was so full of stuff that I was lucky there was room for me in it, let alone other passengers. I took the car to C&H Body Shop in Fairborn, OH. When they returned it, not only was the car fixed perfectly, but it was SPOTLESS. They cleaned up all of my junk and put it in a box in the trunk, throwing out the obvious trash. I was so happy that I literally cried. I think everybody should be as awesome as Ed! :slight_smile: