Your vehicle is a big part of your life. Most car owners spend multiple hours in their car every week, and this means that they need to be able to count on it to get around! One of the best ways to make sure your vehicle is dependable for a long time is to keep up with regular maintenance – and this means you need a trusted place to go for routine checkups and repairs. Having an honest mechanic who does a great job and has fair pricing is worth the small amount of effort it takes to find them. After all: if your mechanic is untrustworthy, you could be left with shoddy repairs and an empty wallet.
Finding a mechanic that you can trust in will help you to keep your car on the road for years to come! Here are 17 tips for choosing an honest mechanic:
- Find out what your car needs
Know roughly how your car operates and what makes your make and model special. Does your car have all wheel drive? Is the engine turbo charged? Talk to your mechanic about these details to gauge how familiar they may be with them.
- Ask around for recommendations
Almost everyone has dealt with a mechanic at some point, and there is a good chance that someone you know has had a good experience. Ask your friends, family, neighbours, coworkers, or social media contacts for their recommendations!
- Don’t be afraid to shop around
Once you have a quote from one mechanic, never be afraid to call around for other quotes. It is easier to spot a scam when you have fair prices to compare with.
- Look for long standing auto shops
Find an auto repair shop that celebrates and advertises how long they have been in business – the longer the better. There is a good chance that if customers weren’t receiving good service all those years, the business would no longer be around!
- Find a local ‘auto expert’
Many local television stations and newspapers have in-house auto experts. See what they have to say, and if they own their own shop, consider giving them a try. While they may not have the cheapest pricing, they are likely trustworthy if they are being featured in local media.
- Meet your mechanic
If you walk into most auto shops, you are likely greeted by a receptionist or office manager. If possible, ask to speak with the mechanic who will be working on your car – it’s a great way to get an impression of who they are and also helps you build rapport for future visits.
- Go with your gut
Many people don’t give themselves enough credit when it comes to ‘gut feelings’. If you are dealing with a mechanic and get the feeling that something just isn’t right, trust yourself and take your business elsewhere.
- Do your own research
When you are provided with a quote for any auto service, consider doing a small amount of research to see if you are getting a fair price. Look online for information on pricing and timelines for similar repairs to see if it matches the quote that you were offered. Be sure to find a range of prices and consider the mid-range pricing to be the most accurate.
- Look at online reviews
While reviews from people you know are the most preferred, it never hurts to take a look at a business’ Yelp or Google reviews. If a mechanic has an overwhelming amount of negative reviews, there is a good chance that you do not want to do business with them. But always remember to take online reviews with a grain of salt!
- Check for community involvement
Any business that wants to build a solid long-term customer base should look at becoming involved in their community. While this doesn’t guarantee that an auto shop provides quality service, it reveals the values of the business owner and their commitment to building community relationships.
- Look for AAA certified auto shops
The American Automobile Association provides accreditation to some auto shops that meet their professional standards of customer service, facility, and staff qualifications. Over 7,000 auto shops across North America are recognized, so it’s a good idea to look for this certification while searching for a new mechanic.
- Look for ASE certified mechanics
Dealing with someone who has been professionally certified in their line of work gives a lot of peace of mind to any customer. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is responsible for testing and certifying automotive professionals, so look for this credential when seeking out a new mechanic. Professionals certified by ASE must be retested every 5 years!
- Find out who local transportation companies use
Local bus and taxi companies would be in big trouble if they did not have a reliable mechanic to keep their vehicles up and running. Give some local transportation companies a call to see which shop they use for repairs and maintenance.
- Start with a small job
So you have found a mechanic that you might like to work with – now what? Before taking your car in for a major repair, start with a routine job such as an oil change. If you are happy with that experience, move on to more complicated work.
- Seek out local automotive educators
Does your local highschool or college campus offer auto shop classes? The instructors for these courses may have recommendations for good mechanics in the area, or may even operate a shop themselves.
- Ask your insurance company
Check with your auto insurance provider if they have any local auto shop recommendations. Some auto insurance companies even provide benefits to those who use one of their approved businesses!
- Check with the Better Business Bureau
Before taking your car for repairs at a local auto shop, take a quick look at their reviews on the BBB website. This is an easy way to check for any official complaints filed against the business, as well as see any BBB accreditations.
Having a vehicle is a big investment, and it only makes sense to protect your investment by choosing the best option for maintenance and repairs. Try any and all of the above tips to help you choose an honest mechanic!