April 2, 2014 - by
Finding a good and reliable mechanic can be like finding a needle in a haystack. While there are many horror stories of consumers being taken to the cleaners by shady or untrustworthy mechanics, that most certainly is not the norm, and there is likely to be more than one great mechanic within driving distance of your home. The goal is to find those good mechanics and stick with them. We’ve gathered the best methods and tactics for finding a good mechanic for your convenience. So, next time you are looking to service your car, you will be sure you have found a mechanic who will treat your car as if it were his own.
#1 Ask for Recommendations
A good way to find a quality mechanic is to ask friends and family members who they use. Odds are, if someone you know has had a problem with a mechanic they are not going to recommend them to you, too. Word of mouth is still a huge marketing tactic in the world of mechanics, so asking around is a good first step in finding a person who will work with you and take good care of your car. The best mechanics tend to have the most loyal customers. If you have a friend who has taken all of his cars to a specific mechanic for the last decade, you can probably be sure the shop is good at what they do. These mechanics are worth their weight in gold, so be sure to take these recommendations the most seriously.
#2 Use Online Resources
Whenever you are looking for a service-based business, you should check online. Yelp!, Angie’s List and Google Local are three online services that connect consumers with business through crowd-sourced reviews. Yelp! is a company that allows anyone to post about their experience with businesses, whether it is a mechanic, a computer repair business, or a new restaurant. Yelp! relies on a star system and you can get a basic idea about how well the business is received by the public. Do be wary on Yelp!, however, there have been issues with paid reviews popping up from time to time. Whenever you are reading a review be sure to check the users profile and see what else they have reviewed recently.
Angie’s List has a more thorough process of obtaining reviews. They are still provided by real consumers, but everything is checked to ensure the people posting the reviews are real customers. Angie’s List is great for everything from mechanics, to house painters, to contractors. When using Angie’s list you can focus your search by perimeters to ensure you get your car dealt with by the best possible mechanic to do the job, too.
Google Local is not as popular as Yelp! and Angie’s List but some of the reviews can be very helpful. You should definitely checkout all three before you choose a mechanic.
#3 Meet the Staff
Before agreeing to have work done on your car, make sure you meet the staff. Your intuition is a useful tool when trying to pick a trustworthy mechanic. Discuss your car and their overall business before agreeing to even allow them to look at your ride. Ask questions that will help you better understand their business. For example, it is always a good idea to ask the staff about the parts they use. If they are using high quality parts, you are probably in a good place. If they can’t tell you where their parts are sourced, or what type of companies they deal with, you might be in a sketchy mechanics shop.
Always remember that the cheapest is not always the best, and often times you get what you pay for. By asking about their parts suppliers, how they complete the work, and their practices, you’ll be able to find a mechanic that is both trustworthy and within your budget.
#4 Ask the Dealership for Authorized Shops
The dealership you have purchased your car from can be a great resource for finding a good mechanic, too. Feel free to give the dealership a call and ask who they suggest outside of their own service department. While many dealerships may want you to bring the car to them, there are many more who are happy to offer a list of authorized repair shops. These are shops they have worked closely with in the past, and they have passed the dealerships own grading system, so they are likely to be good. Be careful, though, when dealing with dealerships. If you bring your car for service to the actual dealership, expect the prices to be more expensive than you would find at an independently owned shop. Here is an example: http://www.cartalk.com/content/where-repair-dealer-or-independent-0.
#5 Ask About Work Guarantees
Many trustworthy mechanics will offer a guarantee on their work. If you find yourself in a shop that does not guarantee their work, you have probably stumbled upon an untrustworthy operation. Work guarantees simply state that the service center stands behind the work they’ve completed, and if something happens to go wrong with that work within a certain timeframe they will fix it again at no additional charge. These guarantees mean the mechanics stand behind their work and are confident that their repairs will last. This is a good indicator that you’ve stumbled upon a good mechanic.
#6 Start Small and Work Your Way Up
If your car only needs routine maintenance at the moment, it is a good time to start shopping around for a mechanic. Once you’ve found one that you feel fairly comfortable with, ask them to do a small job. It is a good idea to start with routine maintenance to see how they do, and how they treat you as a customer. While you might be tempted to throw the transmission job you’ve been staving off for six months to a new mechanic, it can be a disastrous decision. What to do major repairs until you know you are comfortable with the person you are dealing with, advise industry insiders.
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