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?
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?
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.