Finding a good car mechanic for car repair services is nearly as important as choosing the right car to drive. A key trait is trust and honesty. Here are 7 ways to find a good car repair service. And 9 questions to ask a car repair service before you come in. This honest and competent mechanic could be worth their weight in gold for the money and headaches they save you.
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7 Ways to Find a Competent and Honest Car Repair Mechanic
How to find a good car mechanic for car repair services is nearly as important as choosing the right car to drive. It can save you many headaches and a wad of money. Trust is a key factor. But you also need good old-fashioned competence.
Finding a good car mechanic could save you multiple thousands of dollars, versus having to replace a car early. And that opens the door for you to achieve other financial goals and lifestyle dreams. That means that no matter the age of your car, you’ll want to discover how to find a good car mechanic or a high-quality car repair service today. While your car is working just fine. It’s far less stressful than waiting till a major repair looms.
1. Ask around your network of friends, colleagues, family.
My daughter drove an older car and lived in a large city in the north. One of her friends told her about an honest car mechanic with decades of experience just one mile from her apartment. She went to him every time she heard a suspicious squeak. Many times he told her it was nothing and didn’t charge her to check. Needless to say, she always had complete confidence in him and his advice. I shudder to think how much she might’ve paid to an unscrupulous car mechanic.
2. Check out the Mechanics Files on CarTalk.com.
CarTalk offers rankings for car mechanics and car repair services, searchable by city and state, or name, based on the following criteria:
- They are always honest
- Their car repair costs are reasonable
- They treat male and female customers equally
- He or she takes time to explain the problem(s), the needed car repairs, and car repair costs
- They handle it well if they screw up on something
- And more
3. Use AAA’s Approved Car Repair Network.
AAA developed the first nationwide effort to identify and evaluate reliable car repair services. Their inspectors apply such rigorous criteria to car repair shops that many fail AAA’s first inspection. To earn a certificate of competence the car mechanic must pass at least one of ASE’s (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) eight specialty tests and have two years’ hands-on experience.
You do not need to be a AAA member to take advantage of AAA rated car mechanics. Anyone can use the network when looking at how to find a good car mechanic.
4. Look for ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) car repair services.
If a mechanic is certified by ASE to work on a certain make of vehicle, it’s a pretty good indicator that they know their stuff – at least as far as competence of the car mechanic is concerned.
5. Find out who services your area’s biggest car fleets.
Delivery vans, taxis, airport shuttles, company cars – all need to stay on the road. You’d better believe they have the best car repair services at their disposal. Find out who they use. Ask a lot of questions.
6. Check on Better Business Bureau car repair services ratings.
See if a car repair service or car mechanic has Better Business Bureau complaints, especially unresolved ones. Plus, what are the complaints and what are the ratings? Personally I prefer to see no complaints. I believe that if they’ve made a mistake they should own up to it before it ever gets to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). But that’s not how everyone operates. At least if they make it right when it hits the BBB, it’s better than outstanding complaints are.
7. Interview and “test drive” your mechanic.
Don’t hand over your keys to a mechanic until you’ve asked them these nine questions. You can ask them over the phone:
- How many years has the car repair service been in business / how many years’ experience?
- What sorts of guarantees does the car mechanic or car repair service offer on their work?
- How many of their car mechanics are ASE certified?
- How much training do the car mechanics at that car repair service get?
- What types of parts do they use – new, used, OEM, after-market?
- Are estimates free, or do you have to pay for certain types of diagnostics?
- Do they offer loaner cars or a shuttle to work or home while your car is in the shop?
- Do they guarantee their estimates?
- What are their payment policies?
How to Find a Good Car Mechanic: Do This While Your Car Is Feeling Fine!
Just as it’s easiest to get a loan when you don’t need money and easier to dig your well before you’re thirsty (to quote Harvey McKay), it’s also best to research, ask your friends, and test drive your mechanic when your car is working fine.
A good way to do this is to hire a car repair service or car mechanic to do your next oil change or tire rotation. See how they treat you and what their level of competence is.
If you’re forced to start the car repair relationship with a major repair, ask lots of questions (including the ones above). Also ask for a written estimate. Finally, demand that they give you the broken part. Reputable car mechanics do whatever they can to win your trust.
Above all, resist letting bargain-basement car repair prices lure you away from a competent, honest mechanic – if you’re lucky enough to find one. They’re the 1%, and when your car becomes a geriatric case, this able, honest mechanic will be worth their weight in gold. They could literally save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars versus having to go out and replace your car several years early. And that, my friend, could mean achieving other financial goals and lifestyle dreams.