How to Find a Great Mechanic

How to Find a Great Mechanic

December 01, 2017

Going to the mechanic is not something most people look forward to, but it’s a key ingredient to keeping pace with your busy day. If you’re like us, you rely heavily on your car to get you from point A to point B without skipping a beat. Whether you’re simply driving to work or taking the kids to soccer practice, all of those miles add up and begin to wear on your car.

If you are driving a vehicle that is out of warranty, taking care of your car with routine maintenance is the best way to avoid auto expenses that will break your bank.

That brings us to choosing the right mechanic for your car. Whether you’re remotely tech savvy or a social media ninja, you’ve probably read horror stories about automotive repair shops taking advantage of their customers. And while most repair shops treat their customers right – there are still several out there that you should avoid.

Tips on Choosing a Mechanic

We’ve prepared a checklist to help you choose the right mechanic so you can stay prepped ahead of time and avoid having to write the next 1 star Yelp review:

  1. Look for an auto repair shop before you need one. Choosing a mechanic when you’re rushed because your car is in desperate need of repair only means you’ll make a rushed decision that you may later regret. So start looking now. Ask your friends and coworkers for recommendations of trustworthy mechanics in your area. Also, know when your car is due for scheduled maintenance. Every 3 months or 3,000 miles is typical of most cars for an oil change.
  2. Do your research. Let resources like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and other consumer organizations, as well popular online review sites like Yelp and Google be your guide. Take some time to read reviews of the exact auto shop you are considering. What are others saying about the quality of service, speed of service, and cost?
  3. Look for a clean, friendly shop. A well-lit parking lot, clean waiting area, and courteous, helpful, and friendly employees are generally good signs you may have found your fit.
  4. Consider the other cars in the parking lot. Some mechanics work primarily on high-end cars, while others spend most of their time working on used cars. If the other customer cars in the parking lot look similar to yours, you’re probably in the right place.
  5. Look for certifications, licensures, awards, and the Blue Seal. These are all signs of technician competency, and a signal that those working on your car have been certified and (should) know what they are doing. The Blue Seal means a shop has been certified through the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) program. To qualify, 75 percent of employees must be ASE certified.
  6. Look for the shop’s affiliations. If you see an AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) sign, or an Automotive Service Association (ASA) sign, you know the shop has been pre-screened for high-quality service by some of the most trusted organizations in the automotive industry.
  7. No posted service rates and fees? No go. An auto repair shop should post all labor rates, fees, guarantees, and methods of payments in the front lobby where customers can easily see them. When the rates are posted, you shouldn’t be taken by surprise when the cashier rings you up.
  8. Give them a test. If you know a few things about cars, or if you know someone who does, use that information to test a mechanic’s knowledge and honesty. If you find a mechanic recommends repairs you know are unnecessary, go somewhere else.
  9. Ask about warranties. What kind of guarantee does the shop give on its auto repair work? Ask this question ahead of time, as there is no one set standard on repair warranties.
  10. Consider convenience. A shop that is in your general area will be more cost-effective that one on the other side of town. However, convenience should certainly not be the only factor on which you base your decision. If you find the only trustworthy mechanic is a bit further away, that extra drive may be worth your peace of mind.

When you use these tips to find your mechanic, you can be confident that you are taking your car to an auto repair shop you can trust.

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