5 Tips on How to Look For a Good Mechanic
The biggest rookie mistake when it comes to finding a mechanic is waiting until you need one. When you’re in that kind of a situation, you’re probably not thinking things through and go for whatever seems right at the time. This usually lands you in a sticky situation, along with a lengthy bill that you don’t quite understand.
So before that happens, you need to find a good mechanic that is right for you, your vehicle, and your wallet. Here are 5 tips that will help you do just that:
1. Online car forums
Note: This may be a good way to start and get a little bit of an idea as to what you should look for, but always take what you read with a grain of salt.
The good thing about checking online forums for your specific make or model is that you will be able to learn about certain attributes of your vehicle that you may not have known about before (e.g. common problems, unique parts, etc). But you have to keep in mind some negative reviews can be unwarranted and a bit exaggerated. If you see an overall trend of good reviews especially when it comes to machanic’s pricing, timing, and quality, you might have a viable option.
2. Word of mouth
Personally asking human beings whose opinions you actually trust is still the best way to find a good mechanic.
This can mean anyone from your family and friends to your neighbors or that person you’re always running into at the store. The best part is that you can ask all the questions that you need to. The best advice usually comes from people that can give you a list of who is good for varying degrees of work, their fees, their availability, how comfortable they make the customer feel, their space, and so on.
3. Certifications and Memberships
In a sea of mechanics, proper certification can make a significant difference. But that’s not always the case.
A well-certified mechanic, that is a member of a well-known organization such as AAR (Approved Auto Repair), has usually passed a screening system designed to ensure that the facility offers fair prices, is honest, reliable, timely and of overall good quality. While this is definitely a reassuring attribute, it may not be necessary. Ruling out auto repair shops and mechanics without such memberships and certifications could have you ruling out great, honest service and work for a cheaper price from someone local.
4. First impressions
General cleanliness and organization are pretty good signs that your vehicle will be in good hands.
Look to see how many cars are in their lots (too many dead machines isn’t a great sign), get a peek at their equipment (well maintained, clean equipment is a definite plus), and just get a general sense of their work ethic. Do keep in mind that it is an auto repair place and there’s bound to be grease and dirt, so be reasonable as you’re passing judgment.
5. Test them
This one may warrant a bit of research first.
Take your vehicle in for something simple, like an oil change. Make sure that you have basic knowledge of the amount of time the procedure takes, what it entails and how much it should cost you. If the place you’re testing meets all the criteria with the first test you’re probably good to go. There is the chance that they try to take advantage when it comes to a bigger or more complex job, so it is always a good idea to try and have some basic knowledge before you’re stuck with unnecessary changes or charges. Google is your friend.
It will probably take some time before you’re able to just drop your car off with the complete confidence that it will be taken care of safely and honestly. As long as you keep yourself informed, both by doing your own research and openly communicating with the mechanics, and stay fairly involved you and your car should be fine. What tips would you give me when it comes to finding a good mechanic? Let us know in the comment section below!