How To Find a Good Mechanic

Finding a good auto repair mechanic should rank second in importance only to finding a good doctor. When you’re stranded by the side of the road with a dead vehicle, the importance of a good auto repair mechanic takes on even greater meaning. Unfortunately, not all auto mechanics are scrupulous which means you may get “taken for a ride”, literally. What’s the best way to find a good auto repair mechanic in times of a car crisis? Here are some tips for finding a mechanic who can get the job done without breaking the bank:

Look before you need one.
This may be the most important advice of all. Start looking for a competent mechanic before your car decides to die on you. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a dead car and no one to call. Chances are you’ll flip through the yellow pages and call the first mechanic who can fit you in. Your chances of finding a good one are slim using this approach. As soon as you get a new car or move to a new area, begin your search for a reliable mechanic.

Avoid dealerships and chain repair stores, if possible
Auto dealerships will generally do a good job, but you’ll be charged premium prices for the job, while the work done at many chain repair shops is of lower quality. Your best bet is to find a reputable independent auto repair shop. A good shop will go out of their way to keep your business since they have to compete with the local chains and dealerships. How do you find a reputable one? Word of mouth is always a good resource. Ask friends and neighbors who have the same model car as you who they would recommend. Don’t jump on the first name you hear. Wait until several people recommend a single shop and give that shop a call. Make sure they work on your model of car.

Ask local car clubs for a recommendation
If there’s a group that knows cars and the importance a good auto repair service, it’s the members of antique car clubs. Call local car clubs in your area and ask for a local referral. This is particularly important if you happen to have an antique car yourself.

Look for ASE certification
Look for auto mechanics that have ASE certification. This means they have had at least two years of hand-on, full-time car repair experience and have passed a series of competency exams. Although this doesn’t necessarily make a mechanic is honest, it does mean that he has a basic level of car repair knowledge.

Background check the auto repair shop
Call your Better Business Bureau and see if any complaints have been filed against the shop you’re considering. Ask as many people as you can about their experience at the shop. The more information you have, the better.

Test the mechanic with simple repairs
Once you’ve selected a potential mechanic, it’s best to test their level of honesty and competency by taking your car in for a minor repair job. If you’re satisfied with the work done, keep your new mechanic on speed dial.

As a final reminder
When you get your car repaired at an auto repair shop, get everything in writing including an itemized list of repairs as well as a written guarantee. If you believe you’re being overcharged, go through each service performed by the shop and be sure you were charged a fair rate. It’s not difficult to find the average costs of different repairs by searching the internet. Once you find a good auto repair mechanic who meets your needs, treat him or her like gold. You’ve found a treasure.