Car mechanics can be a blessing or a curse. If you find a good one, you want to hold onto them for dear life. Here are some tips on how to find the perfect one.
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10 tips to find the best mechanic
1. Find a shop that specializes in your car model.
Many garages specialize in certain makes. Those that focus on your brand are more likely to have the latest training and equipment to fix your vehicle – saving delays and the “We’ve got to order that part” excuse.
2. Ask your family and friends.
Especially seek recommendations from those who have a vehicle similar to yours. Co-workers are a good resource as well – if they have a good mechanic local to work, it could make getting back and forth easier.
3. Search the Internet.
An obvious choice these days, but it is necessary. Look for information about local mechanics on Angie’s List, the Consumer Reports car repair estimator and the Mechanics Files at Cartalk.com. Car Talk provides those services free, Angie’s List requires a subscription, the car repair estimator is free for Consumer Reports’ online subscribers. Sites such as Yelp are another good way to find information.
4. Check the Better Business Bureau.
While you are searching online, check the Better Business Bureau. Auto repair shops rank 12th on the bureau’s list of common complaints. Go to www.bbb.org; the information you find might help you figure out which shops you should avoid.
5. Check for certification.
Your mechanic and shop should be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE. Their website has a searchable database for certified shops near you. Also, Some mechanics are certified by manufacturers to work on specific types of cars. If a mechanic has a manufacturer certification, it means they have passed tests and are proficient in making repairs to cars within their brand.
6. Give the shop a tryout.
Before your car needs a big repair, you might want to try out some local shops with smaller repairs or maintenance items, such as oil and filter changes. Because you need an oil change.
7. Ask about warranties.
If you’re researching shops to be prepared when something goes wrong, may your type A be blessed with automotive wellness. For the rest of us, you are probably asking on the phone while your car sits in an unhappy pile of nuts and bolts behind you. So ask: What kind of guarantees does the shop give on repair work? Warranties can vary greatly among shops. Use a common repair, such as brake work, as your guide.
8. Make sure the shop is convenient.
Even the best shop might not be worth the effort if its hours conflict with your schedule or you have few transportation options after you drop off the car.
9. Look for a mechanic who is willing to show you the problem.
Be from Missouri when you’re dealing with car issues – always say “Show Me.” First, always ask for proof of damage before you allow someone to make repairs to your car.
A trustworthy mechanic is always willing to explain the problem to you and show you the proof. If the mechanic is comfortable working while you watch, you can trust him. If the mechanic is apprehensive about letting you take a look, you’ll never know if he is being honest.
10. Go with your gut.
Your instincts are your best weapon. Don’t leave your car at a shop that gives you the wiggins and then kick yourself later when something goes wrong. Use your intuition; it can save you a lot of grief.
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