No matter what your level of automotive intelligence is, at some point you’ll probably have to take your car to a mechanic. Unless you work on cars on a regular basis, there are certain tools and machines too expensive for the Sunday mechanic to purchase and readily available in the confines of your local auto repair shop. The real problem is finding out which ones are reputable and won’t cost you an arm and leg for minor or major repairs. In short, who’s a crook and who’s not?
Recommendations are the first step to finding a good mechanic. Ask others you know about the mechanic they use. If you’ve become interested in a particular mechanic or auto shop, ask them for referrals. Also, ask around in your circle of friends and family to see if anyone else has used them. The best indicators of a good mechanic are other satisfied customers. Don’t rely on a huge name that backs a company up for its reliability. Unfortunately, some of the biggest names have some of the largest amounts of unresolved issues with the better business bureau.
Look for ASE Certified Mechanics. The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence conducts various tests in many areas of auto repair competency. Many reputable repair shops and other auto service shops require all their employees to have an ASE certification. Any establishment that employs those who’ve received an ASE Certification should display in visible areas the certificates of completion for ASE classes and training. This ensures that employees have received the proper training and background to work on vehicles.
It also signifies that employees frequently undergo up-training or ongoing learning classes to keep up with newer vehicles and practices and techniques that will be needed to keep their experience up to date.
Ask for your old parts. Although it seems a bit archaic in theory, it is actually very reasonable. No one should be offended when you ask him or her to save the old parts for you. If a mechanic seems particularly put off by having to do this – go elsewhere. There should be no problem for anyone to provide you with the old, worn-out parts once they’ve been replaced.
While price shopping is a good idea it can also be a good indicator of the expertise of a mechanic as well as how good the job will be performed. If you’ve called around on a particular service and found someone who’s considerably lower for that same service, consider it a red flag. While cost will be a good pull for most people, the ability to save money always lures us. In the long run, if you’ve hired someone who does a shoddy job and have to take your vehicle to another shop to get the job done right, how much money have you really saved?
This isn’t to say everyone who offers the same service at a lower price is a crook, but I’d ask why their price is substantially lower than everyone else. With a valid explanation, you may find someone who does great work and costs less. But if they hesitate and give you bogus explanations (or at least something you feel isn’t totally credible) keep searching.
As with any type of shopping whether I’s for a good or service checking with your local Better Business Bureau is a good idea as well. Unresolved issues with prior customers can be an indicator of poor business practices. One or two or even five records over a period of time are n’t something that should worry you, but the nature of the complaint (which is available through the Bureau) should be reviewed as well.
If many people have complained about the same thing there is probably a good reason for it and it would be wise to stray from that particular company. But using your good judgment, if you think maybe the complaint stemmed from one of those customers who wouldn’t ever be satisfied no matter what the company did, it’s probably nothing to worry about.If many people