Finding a good auto repair mechanic is a lot like finding a good doctor. You need someone you can trust and won’t order unnecessary service for your automobile. Cars are big investment and a good mechanic will keep your car running in top shape for many years. Here are some tips on how to find a good auto repair mechanic.
The first step in finding a good auto repair mechanic is to ask around. Where do your friends and coworkers take their cars. Auto repair shops thrive on word of mouth advertising and everyone has an opinion, either good or bad, on the quality of service they received from a mechanic. Finding a good mechanic can be as easy as asking around.
Look for certifications and endorsements such as the ASE label. The National Institute for Auto Service Excellence is a mark of quality and competence in the auto repair world. To receive ASE certification, mechanics are tested and certified on a wide variety of auto repair disciplines. Auto repair shops that display the ASE label hold themselves up to a higher standard. They are proud of their credentials and will display them prominently. Membership with other trade associations like the Automotive Service Association (ASA) or AAA, the American Automobile Association are also good indicators of a quality service center.
Drive around and look at the repair shops. A good auto repair mechanic will keep their shop neat and clean. Inspect the parking lot, waiting area, and service counter. If the shop is neat and clean and the employees well groomed and courteous, you can be reasonably sure that they will take good care of your car when they perform service. Although you can’t always judge a book by its cover, sometimes messy shops do offer great service. But unless you know the mechanics and their ability; if the shop is messy, pass it by and check out a different repair place.
Dealer service centers are usually a safe bet. You can reasonably expect the dealer’s service department to be competent and know the most about your particular automobile. In fact, if you own a foreign or exotic car, this may be your only choice for quality service. The down side is that dealer service often comes at a higher labor rate than independent shops, which will cost your more for a repair. Unless your car is still under warranty, skip the dealer and keep looking for a quality independent shop.
How do you know if you found a good auto repair mechanic? Once you bring your car in, a good mechanic will give you a free estimate. Although depending on the type of service issue, the shop may charge a minimum labor rate to diagnose the problem. The estimate will be firm and in writing. If repairs go over the estimate, you will be given a chance to accept or refuse any additional service. Good mechanics will be friendly and helpful and will look for ways to save you money on your service. If they spot additional issues they will list them in the estimate or put them in a separate estimate. A good mechanic won’t force or bully you to accept service or repairs that aren’t necessary or included with the original estimate. Finally, good mechanics will explain everything and will be willing to answer any questions you might have.
It can be difficult to fins a good auto repair mechanic. But with a little scouting around, asking questions, and doing your research you’ll be sure to find a repair shop that will treat both you and your car right.