How To Find A Good Car Mechanic

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You wouldn't let anyone but the best perform surgery on you, so why should you settle for any less when you hire an automotive technician for your car?

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Finding Quality Car Care

Anybody who owns a car will eventually need the services of a car mechanic. In the case of a new car, that auto mechanic will usually be employed by the official dealership network's auto-repair shop in your area, especially if your car is still covered by a warranty or service plan. Well-off owners of expensive, specialist sports or coupe vehicles such as a McLaren GT or BMW 8 Series must take their cars to the official dealerships because nobody else can work on them.

However, for the normal, run-of-the-mill car that is out of warranty and/or advanced in age, many other non-OEM car-repair shops have their own, competent local mechanics and can render comparable services, often at a far lower cost. So, how do you find a car maintenance shop that can offer you professional, quality car care?

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How to Find a Mechanic For Your Older Car

Yes, you can save money if you find a mechanic at a cheaper vehicle repair shop, but how do you know that you've chosen an honest mechanic that can do the job? Here are some guidelines to follow if you want to know how to find a good mechanic:

  • Reviews and recommendations. Read online reviews and ask friends for a recommendation or two. This way, you can take your time to sift through every local service center and choose a good mechanic.
  • Don't leave it too late. Find a vehicle-repair service center of good repute well before you need it. Don't wait for a breakdown, because then you might be forced to choose an automotive technician you know nothing about for your car's repair or check-up. You don't want to be under pressure to choose the first random mechanic just because you need one urgently.
  • The correct equipment. Modern cars require certain computer programs and tools to diagnose and fix. Be sure your chosen mechanic is qualified and has everything needed to work on your model's mechanical and electrical systems. With the right equipment, a mechanic doesn't have to be an engineer to diagnose a car's problem. This is especially true of niche, specialist vehicles, such as electric cars, for which fewer qualified technicians exist.
  • Be inquisitive. Ask plenty of questions. A good and honest mechanic will be transparent, explain the work, and answer all your questions. You might not understand everything they're saying, but a cagey mechanic is to be avoided. Read our guide on common car repair scams here. A great idea is to ask a car expert to help; take them along to verify the information you're given.
  • Is the work guaranteed? Warranties on work done vary a lot, so ask the workshop in advance about this.
Auto Mechanic Pexels.com
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A Vehicle Repair Service With the Right Credentials

All the mechanics at garages run by your vehicle's manufacturer can repair your car, regardless of what is wrong with it, and offer you peace of mind, for the following reasons:

  • Each vehicle mechanic has been trained by the manufacturer to maintain your model
  • They have the right software and diagnostic tools to read your car's fault codes
  • They have the correct special tools to work on your model of car
  • Their work is usually guaranteed by the manufacturer

However, even older cars are complicated and controlled by computer systems and you need a trusted mechanic with the requisite knowledge and qualifications if you're not going to the official dealership. Even a small vehicle like the affordable Mitsubishi Mirage relies on advanced engine-management electronics. This means that you should trust certified shops that carry an ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certification at the very least.

The Cheapest is Usually Not the Best Mechanic

A brand dealership is usually more expensive than an independent shop, but some are very competitive, so check their prices anyway. The best mechanic to work on your car is probably always the manufacturer-trained one, and if yours offers a good deal, go for it. Don't shop just by price; the best and most reliable mechanic is usually not the cheapest one. It can cost you later in shoddy work. A good mechanic commands a higher salary - you get what you pay for. They will also be willing to supply an estimate in advance for work to be done. Just remember to ask if this quote is free or not.

Conclusion

Most people would be more at ease if an official dealership worked on their car, but this is not always possible. On an old car that is worth little, the expense might just be too high. Alternatively, there might not be an official dealer nearby. Luckily, there are many independent car repair shops, and if you follow our useful tips, you can avoid the dodgy ones. Be sure to leave a positive review if your mechanic does a good job, and remember to take care of your car to extend itslifespan.

Auto Repair Shop Pexels.com

FAQs

What do I do when my mechanic doesn’t fix the problem?

If they charge for a diagnosis, that money is gone for good, but if you have paid for repairs that weren't done properly, you do have some options. Ask for the old parts back that were replaced and insist on a receipt. An online RepairPal check can determine if the repairs were appropriate, but you should take your car to another professional mechanic who is willing to put in writing a description of what's wrong with the car. You will need all of this proof if you are considering legal action.

What is a Master Mechanic?

Besides the fact that your automotive workshop should be certified with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), it's even more desirable if your mechanic is also certified as a Master Mechanic by ASE. It serves as proof of their excellent customer service and diagnostic skills.

Can car workshops be AAA-approved?

Yes, the Automobile Association of America does review repair shops, and when it recommends a car repair shop to its members, it means that the establishment meets high industry and customer-service standards. An AAA recommendation is definitely a boon.

Should I insist on a written estimate for work to be done?

For expensive repair work, yes. The estimate might not be free, but it will provide a good idea of the work to be done, and having it in writing makes it much easier to pursue legal action if that ever becomes necessary.

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