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How to Find a Good Auto Mechanic

How to Find a Good Auto Mechanic

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Good-Auto-Mechanic

In a world where few people know their vehicle’s workings, it’s good to know how to find a good auto mechanic to keep you up and running. With just a few tips, you’ll be driving comfortably for years to come.

Steps

1. First, try to research various automotive certifications. A good auto mechanic will be ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Certified and should have a certification indicating what areas he is proficient in.

2. Another thing to look for is affiliation signs. AAA will certify some local repair shops after examining their credentials and business policies, and they will have a list of those shops on their website.

3. Ask around. Your friends, family, and colleagues have cars, and have to get them serviced somewhere. Find out how they feel about their mechanics.

4. Check online reviews. Look for reviewers’ overall impression, without too much weight to isolated very bad or very good reviews: a reviewer here and there may be unreasonable, mistaken, dishonest, or simply grumpy.

5. Investigate procedures online. Internet sites and discussions can provide “sanity checks” on prices and reasons for repairs. Bear in mind that prices can vary significantly from place to place and a lot from car to car, and that sometimes things do go bad unexpectedly.

6. “Stake-out” your local shops. This means driving past and checking out the facilities. Look for clean, orderly grounds and work areas and people engaged purposefully in their work. Grounds chock-full of cars being actively worked through aren’t a bad thing, though perhaps not for you if you have a very valuable car or show-quality finish to protect from even the slightest tap. Take notice of the makes, quantity, and quality of the other customers’ cars. If you drive a 5 year old Ford truck, and the only vehicles you see around are run-down, old Fiats in the parking lot that probably isn’t the place for you.

Professional drivers are likely to be well-informed, so taxis, limos, or work vans around can indicate a good economical shop.

7. Balance price and convenience. Any mechanic should work honestly, effectively, and avoid big surprises on cost or time. Going to a more-expensive shop alone doesn’t guarantee anything, but recognize that it legitimately costs more to provide:

  • Convenient location. It costs more to rent, or forego income by not renting out, space in a fancy or densely-populated area. But, if you live or work in such an area, taking your car here may help you get back to your other activities more quickly.
  • Some shops, typically fancy ones like dealerships, provide free shuttles. There are many non-expensive areas within short distances from train or bus stops–consider your safety to, from and at those, though. A cab ride to and from a shop in an inconvenient area may be well worth the money you can save on a repair. Occasionally one of the workers may offer you a lift. Call to ask about transit options before going.
  • New and spacious waiting, office and repair areas. Buildings, like cars, cost money to build and keep shiny. Accumulation of dirt and serious decay can suggest an attitude problem, though.
  • More time to talk and mitigate unexpected delays. It can sometimes take a lot of time to explain some problems with a level of detail suitable for those not familiar with cars or to deal with unexpected problems that may appear. A shop that does less business overall may have more time to explain things and may introduce less delay for unusual problems because it already has slack in its schedule. If you expect to have something complicated to ask about at a busy shop, be prepared to wait awhile; better yet, ask what times are less busy before going.
  • More parts on hand. Larger shops, and those that specialize in particular kinds of work or cars, can often save time with parts taken from a comprehensive inventory rather than waiting for them to arrive from elsewhere, though even that can be pretty fast near a city.
  • All original-equipment-manufacturer (“OEM”) or other new parts. Car manufacturers make, or obtain through their parts suppliers, and sell spare parts that should match the originals perfectly, known as OEM parts. Dealers normally use these. Other, “aftermarket” manufacturers, make new replacement parts. “Re-builders” or “re-manufacturers” take apart and clean complex used parts such as engines and transmissions, replace whatever may have broken, readjust, refit or replace whatever tends to wear out, and reassemble, lubricate, and seal them. Aftermarket and rebuilt parts typically cost much less and are often just as good. There are established aftermarket and rebuilding companies with their own reputations to protect. Junkyards, often called “salvage” or “used auto parts” companies, are particularly good for saving money on things that don’t wear out, like doors and mirrors, but the particular part to be used has to be examined and the appearance normally won’t be perfect. Independent mechanics typically use aftermarket parts, and sometimes rebuilt or salvage parts, but should ask before installing something that is not new.
  • An insurer may sometimes waive “betterment” charges for replacing old parts that got broken if you agree to have aftermarket parts used. Ask about this if an insurer is paying for your repairs.
  • Specialization. Many mechanics can do good work on all kinds of common cars. But many parts on antiques work in odd, obsolete ways, and many parts on top-of-the-line luxury cars or exotic cars can work in odd ways to squeeze out a little extra performance. And replacements can be hard to find. So if you have one of these, look for a mechanic who works with similar cars as a substantial part of his business. If the car has collector value, make sure any replacement parts are sufficiently “authentic”.
  • Dealerships generally charge quite a bit more for parts and labor than other mechanics, but they’re supposed to know your vehicle and be able to get the job done perfectly.

8. Talk to the mechanic, ask questions and request to see the old parts when they are removed.When a mechanic puts a face to the vehicle and knows he may be talking with you again he is more likely to be more particular about how he performs the repairs.

Tips
After you find what you believe to be a quality mechanic, but before you dedicate your car to that person, test out the relationship you will have with him. Take your car in for just an oil change to see how he is going to treat you.

You can also follow these steps to find a body shop, upholsterer, or other automotive specialist. Take more care in choosing these. Many are just fine, or even very resourceful in helping you get an old car back in service for cheap. But their lines of business may be more suited to unscrupulous operators because much of their work derives from accidents, limiting customers’ time to shop around, to check their practices with small jobs first, or to gather a basis for comparison to other shops or similar procedures. Your mechanic or a friend in a vehicle-related profession may be able to recommend one.

If a third party such as a warranty provider or insurer is to pay for the repairs, check that they will accept the mechanic. (With a manufacturer’s warranty, the dealer is typically to provide the repairs.)

Warnings
Be wary of a repair station that always wants to do more than you asked for. It’s nice of them to check your vehicle over for potential problems, but if every time you go they find something major wrong they’re probably trying to rip you off. There’s even a word for this unscrupulous practice: “up-selling” a job. Get a second opinion from someone several shops away. If the supposed problem requires significant effort to inspect, it would be reasonable to pay a fee for that.

The material contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and is based on sources believed to be reliable and authoritative. However, this information has not been independently verified by us. This newsletter should not be construed as offering professional advice.

The material contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and is based on sources believed to be reliable and authoritative. However, this information has not been independently verified by us. This newsletter should not be construed as offering professional advice.

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8 COMMENTS

  • Nathan Carter
    March 29, 2019, 4:47 pm REPLY

    I like that you suggest looking for affiliation signs. Looking for other businesses that give a thumbs up to the auto repair shop you’re looking at makes a lot of sense to me. I’d definitely look into a shop with a credible source backing it up.

  • Adrian Jones
    March 30, 2019, 1:21 am REPLY

    It’s interesting that you mentioned how asking friends and family members who own cars if they know a service that serves repairs to cars is great since it shows that they’ve already gone through it and can easily recommend a service to you. Another thing to consider is actually dropping by the place that you intend to bring your car to, and checking the quality of service level there to make sure that you have just the right kind of clientele frequenting the shop. While I have no need yet to bring my car in for repairs, it’s good to know that there are ways to be able to find the repair service that you would be needing down the road.

  • Penelope Smith
    March 30, 2019, 2:37 am REPLY

    This is some really good information about finding a good auto mechanic. I just moved to a new area and I need to get a new mechanic soon. It is good to know that I should try to find a local shop. I know that I wouldn’t want to worry about traveling a long distance to get help with my car.

  • Sariah Meagle
    April 1, 2019, 7:47 am REPLY

    A good auto mechanic will surely keep my BNW in good shape. Thanks for the tip to look for automotive certifications when looking for a mechanic to go to. I think I’ll start by asking around to see who I can visit in the local area to find a good one I can trust.

  • Sam Li
    April 2, 2019, 8:35 pm REPLY

    I love your advice about asking your friends and family in order to find a reliable mechanic. Auto body repair is essential when it comes to the proper functioning of your vehicle. If I were to encounter any problems with my Honda, I would make sure to find the best automotive repair shop in my general vicinity.

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