Sep 15, 2009
1. First, try to research various automotive certifications. A good auto mechanic will be ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Certified and should have a certification indicating what areas he is proficient in.
2. Another thing to look for is affiliation signs. AAA will certify some local repair shops after examining their credentials and business policies, and they will have a list of those shops on their website.
3. "Stake-out" your local shops. This means driving past and checking out the facilities. You should be looking for key details such as the cleanliness of the grounds and work areas. Take notice of the makes, quantity, and quality of the other customers' cars. If you drive a 5 year old Ford truck, and the only vehicles you see around are run-down, old Fiats in the parking lot that probably isn't the place for you.
4. Ask around. Your friends, family, and colleagues have cars, and have to get them serviced somewhere. Find out how they feel about their mechanics.
5. When in doubt, you can always go back to the dealership. They almost always charge a higher labor rate and more for the parts, but they're supposed to know your vehicle and be able to get the job done.
6. Talk to the mechanic, ask questions and request to see the old parts when they are removed. When a mechanic puts a face to the vehicle and knows he may be talking with you again he is more likely to be more particular about how he performs the repairs.
Websites for help
There are lots of websites out there now to help in the fight against bad repairs as well. Here are a few that you should check out.
Find the best local repair center: Mechanixloop This website will allow you to search by your zip code and find the highest rated auto repair center. They have unique technology to take the total voice of people across the internet, and rank the auto repair centers based on what the local people have said about them. Also let you post comments, and reviews on your experience.
Find how much it should cost: RepairPal and DriverSide will give you the approximate cost of given repairs in your city. This will prepare you to know generally how much a repair should cost you so you don't get taken to the cleaners.
After you find what you believe to be a quality mechanic, but before you dedicate your car to that person, test out the relationship you will have with him. Take your car in for just an oil change to see how he is going to treat you.Be weary of a repair station that always wants to do more than you asked for. It's nice of them to check your vehicle over for potential problems, but if every time you go they find something major wrong they're probably trying to rip you off. It's called up-selling a job. Flat-rate mechanics make their money doing it.
Posted by Jane at Tuesday, September 15, 2009 |