Finding the right person to fix your beloved vehicle isn’t an easy task. If you’re not mechanically-minded, it takes a leap of faith to trust a stranger to do a thorough job. Check out these tips and start making some phone calls!
1. Is the mechanic’s shop busy? If there’s a constant flow of new cars, then you can be sure it’s a good shop. If the same cars are there week after week, stay clear.
2. The very best shops don’t need to advertise. Word of mouth ensures that these often hidden gems stay busy. Ask neighbors or colleagues if they’re aware of these places. And when you get there, don’t judge them by their lack of shiny new equipment or snazzy customer waiting area – as nice as these are, they don’t make a good mechanic.
3. Many car owners prefer to use specialist mechanics. So, they take their VW to a VW dealer, their Audi to an Audi dealer, and so on. They can be sure that they’re getting genuine parts. Of course, this is no guarantee the mechanics will be excellent, but it’s a start.
4. Spend some time on Car Talk’s Mechanics Files.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask some very direct questions before booking in your car. Is the work covered by a warranty? Are the parts repurposed? Do they have insurance to cover an accident? There are relatively few mechanics who give the answers we all want to hear, so this is a great way of finding out who you don’t want to go to.
6. If dealers use a particular mechanic for overflow, you can be sure this one will do a good job.
7. Family businesses that have been around for years tend to survive the arrival and departure of lesser mechanic shops. Why? Because they’ve built up a reputation for honesty, skill, and fair pricing. If there’s one reasonably near your work or home, start making inquiries with the locals.
8. Go into an independent auto parts store and ask who they would recommend. They have daily interactions with all the companies in the area, so they know who orders high-quality parts, who is constantly busy, who is helpful, and probably everything there is to know about the mechanic!
9. Take the car in for a small job. If the mechanic is thorough and honest, problem solved (or, if you receive a $150 bill to change a lightbulb, it’s probably not the best idea to get them to fix a major mechanical fault).
10. Try online. You can try reading reviews, but be aware that some aren’t entirely honest. Chat with people in your local forum and try and get a sense of the good mechanics in your area.