How to Find a Good Mechanic

How to Find a Good Mechanic

Choosing a good mechanic the first time is important because chances are you’ll be returning for a car repair the second time.

Do it right the first time, and you’ll have a reliable mechanic you can depend on.

How to find a good mechanic

You won’t find a definition for the term “good mechanic” in the dictionary but we think it should be defined as a person who provides reliable car repairs at reasonable prices.

Never look for a car when your car needs repairs because you’ll be more likely to take your car to the first auto shop or dealership you see, and then you’ll likely pay for things you didn’t really need.

best-car-mechanic

Consider shopping for a mechanic also known as an automotive technician the same way you would if you were hiring a Realtor to help you find a home, ordering new kitchen cabinets, or attempting to have your basement finished. With big ticket items like those, you always do comparative shopping, not only to get the best price, but also to hire the best mechanic for the job.

The first step in finding a good mechanic is to ask your friends, coworkers, and family members who they use. If more than one person recommends that same repair shop, then you may have found yourself a winner.

But you’re not done shopping yet. Call the shop and find out how long it’s been in business. If a shop has been around a long time, it’s usually a sign that the community has supported it.

The owner should be hands-on and in charge of daily business so that if there’s a problem you can take your complaint directly to him/her.

Are they certified?

ase-certified-automotive-service-technician

When choosing a mechanic, look for the ASE blue seal.

Another important qualification you need in an auto repair shop is that the owner should be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and perform on-site service. To be certified by the ASE, mechanics must pass challenging tests on various automotive repair fields.

An ASE certified master mechanic has passed all 8 tests in the auto series qualifying him/her as a specialist in all parts of the car, and they also undergo continual education. To find blue seal ASE accredited auto repair shops click here.

It’s also a good idea to look for the American Automobile Association (AAA) logo on their website, or in their shop. This certification means the auto repair shop has met strict criteria set forth by AAA’s qualified automotive professionals.

Another reason why the AAA logo is something you should look for is that if any dispute between a member and an approved repair facility surfaces, they will investigate the matter. Even if you’re not an AAA club member, they will at least make a conciliatory effort to resolve the differences between the parties.

Check with your local Better Business Bureau and consumer department to see if there are any unresolved complaints against the repair or auto body shop you’ve chosen. These sources won’t necessarily feature reviews, but they will tell you if there are any unresolved complaints against the company.

Consider the dealership

When you’re looking for the best auto repair shop, don’t rule out the dealership as a choice. It’s a car maintenance myth that dealers charge more. Here are a few reasons why you should consider getting your car repaired at the dealership:

  • Some dealerships will offer a free rental car while yours is being serviced. Check your warranty package for more information.
  • A good dealership regularly trains its mechanics in the latest car repair and diagnostic equipment.
  • If an issue arises you have better odds of having the claim resolved because if they don’t, you can take your claim further up the ladder – all the way up to the manufacturer if required.
  • The dealership knows what’s covered under your warranty.
  • A dealership uses original manufacturer parts.
  • A dealership often has deep roots in your community.

Visiting an auto repair shop or dealership

best auto repair shop

A clean working bay indicates the shop cares for its cars and tools.

 

You don’t have to make an appointment; just walk right in and take a look around. See how the manager or owner acts and is dressed. Someone who wants to make a good impression will be dressed appropriately and act friendly.

Look to see if the bays are clean and tidy, which indicates that the mechanics and owner take pride in their working area and care after their tools.

Pay attention to how the cars are parked in the parking lot, if they’re pulled in a haphazard manner, that’s a good sign the shop is disorganized.

Also look at the condition of the cars in the shop. Are they old and beat up , or are they in good condition? People who care about their cars will take them to good repair shops. If you don’t see this, keep shopping.

Making sure the price is right

automotive-technician-customer

Very few car owners feel they’re not being ripped off by their repair shop. Why? It’s our own ignorance – a lot of us know little about our cars. And because we know little to nothing, we know we’re vulnerable to being ripped off.

Finding the best auto repair shops means you need to be a smart consumer and that means you need to know as much as you can about your car.

Know in advance what parts will be needed and the costs for those parts, as well as labor charges. This will help you calculate a price estimate so when you go in, you know you’re not being ripped off. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use our car parts finder and get a list of replacement parts and cost for each part.
  • Read as much as you can about your car by using your car owner’s manual. Browse our site for more general car information.
  • Maintain your car regularly. This will help you know your car better and allow you to perform minor repairs as well as save money.
  • Know your car’s recommended service schedule and abide by it.
  • Some states and counties have laws that require auto repair shops to supply a written price estimate as well as to notify the customer if the total bill will be 10 percent more than the estimate. Therefore, check with your county government to see if your area has a similar law.

Final Advice

Here’s a quick overview of some additional tips to consider when trying to find a good mechanic.

  • Don’t assume that they’re all crooks out to steal your money.
  • Create a list of problems about your car and present it to your mechanic.
  • Be patient
  • Don’t assume the mechanic can hear the noises you hear. Mechanics often work in shops with noisy engines and loud power tools so tell inform the technician of any unusual noises.
  • Bring a copy of your car’s repair history.
  • If your car still has problems call the shop or dealership and they will fix the problem for free if it’s the original problem.

Follow the above tips and guidelines and find yourself the best mechanic!

How to Find a Good Mechanic
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17 Responses to How to Find a Good Mechanic

  1. Thank you for all the tips on how to find a good mechanic. I recently moved to a new town and I really need to find a new mechanic for my car. I really liked your tip about checking if they are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. It would be nice to know if they know what they are doing.

  2. My wife and I are looking for a mechanic ever since moving, but we keep putting it off. I like your point about choosing a shop that is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. This would prove to me that they have the proper training to handle any repair, so we’ll be sure to look for this.

  3. It’s smart that you talked about knowing in advance the parts you will need and cost for those parts so you can compare with the shop. My younger brother just got his first car and is looking to hire an auto repair shop. I’ll be sure to talk to him about doing research to find the best shop for him.

  4. It’s good to know more about finding a car service. I love how you said that the owner should be certified by the ASE. We’ll keep an eye out for that in our new town, especially because I want our car’s AC system fixed soon.

  5. Thanks for pointing out that a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certificate is given when the mechanic has passed 8 tests and also continues their education. My car has started to have problems turning over, and I’d like to get it fixed. I’ll have to look for somewhere that has ASE certified mechanics to repair my car for me.

  6. Thank you for your tip on how you need to make sure your auto body shop you choose is certified. I just got in a car accident and need to find an auto repair shop to fix it. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind when looking for a suitable auto body shop.

  7. I never would’ve considered that the amount of time a mechanic has been in business could be an indication of how experienced they are. After reading your article, however, it makes sense that the more different types of cars some into a mechanic’s shop, the more problems they are able to recognize and diagnose. If my car ever has a problem that I can’t immediately identify, I will be sure to take it to an experienced mechanic who can!

  8. My car has been making some odd noises lately and I’m wanting to get it checked and repaired as soon as possible. Thank you for suggesting that when I’m searching for a mechanic I should make sure and ask my friends and family for recommendations. I’ll have to ask around and see if I can find the best shop in my area to take my car to.

  9. I thought you had some really good points abut how using a mechanic that is properly certified could be really useful. Your suggestion to research a mechanic on the BBB could also be a big help I’d think. I’ll keep these two factors in mind the next time my car needs repairs.

  10. My wife and I have been looking for a good auto repair shop, and I think that being able to know what things we should keep an eye out for would be good information for us to know! I’m glad that you talked about finding a shop that is certified, and how you want to make sure that they are specialized in what they do. I’m going to have to check some potential auto repair shops for these certifications, and hopefully get some quality mechanics for our vehicles!

  11. My husband and I are looking for a new mechanic to take our cars into since our last one retired. So I like your suggestion to see if there are nice vehicles being worked on since people who care about their cars will take them to the best shops. I will definitely plan to visit a couple of the mechanics we are thinking of hiring so that we can make sure that the vehicles they service are usually nice ones.

  12. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to make sure they are a decent mechanic and they’ll be able to provide reliable services. My wife owns a Japanese vehicle and I feel like it’s always having problems and it’s gotten to the point where I can’t repair it myself because it’s so specific to the vehicle. Once we start looking around we’ll be looking for a mechanic who can provide a decent service and fix it reliably.

  13. Not many people would consider doing it, but the article makes a very good point about actually visiting the shop where the mechanic works. After all, you will want to make sure that they have access to the proper equipment needed to fix up your car. It also helps to see how organized they are when working on other car so that you can get an idea of how they’ll work on your own.

  14. I really appreciate your tip about how any auto repair shop that you take your car to should be certified so you can be sure that qualified professionals will be working on your vehicle. My husband and I are noticing that our brakes are squeaky, and we’re worried it might be a sign of a bigger problem. We’ll have to find a qualified and reputable auto repair service in our area that can use their knowledge and skills to take care of the problem with our brakes before they cause further damage.

  15. I loved when you mentioned how you can always consult with your friends and family when looking for a good mechanic. It makes sense to think that doing some research and compare several mechanics can help you find a mechanic that has good credentials for the job. Personally, I would also want to take the time to read online reviews and check with the BBB can also help you find the best auto repair shop for your needs.

  16. Thanks a lot for mentioning how you need to know as much as you can about your car so you know which mechanic has the best parts of it. I understand that doing this can help make sure you are getting the best quality for the type of vehicle you have as well as get the right prices for the work and parts. We are planning on getting a new truck and want to make sure we find a professional that knows how to deal with it and help us know how to avoid problems, so I’m glad I found your page.

  17. Thank you for mentioning how shopping for a mechanic can help you get the best price and find the best professional for the job. It is important to remember that comparing several professionals can help you narrow down your choices and find the one that can provide the type of repairs you need. Personally, I would also consider the type of vehicle I have and make sure the mechanic I want to work with knows how to properly deal with it and provide quality parts for it.

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