If you’ve been questioning the credibility of your current car mechanic or you’re in need of serious repairs and haven’t committed to a specific body shop, choosing a new mechanic can seem like a daunting task.
In reality, it’s not difficult to find a reliable car mechanic, but being inundated with choices and our reservations about our own car knowledge keep us from committing to one specific location over the long run.
We’re here to ease the pain of the search with a few tips on finding your next car mechanic.
Use Your Warranty if You Can
If you have a warranty that covers repairs or routine maintenance when you buy a new car, use it! Although the dealership might not be the closest place to get your oil changed, if it’s free, you better be spending an extra dollar on gas. Along the same lines, if you don’t have repair and maintenance coverage under a warranty, skip the dealership all together. There are auto repair shops that do equivalent work for far cheaper.
Start Looking Before You Have Issues
If you’re still in the honeymoon phase of car maintenance, where it’s just an oil change here and a tire rotation there, shop around a bit. You might have a year or two to visit and get the feel for a few local repair shops in your area, and the more you compare, the more you’ll see who treats you the best and does the best, most reliable work.
Ask Your Friends on Social Media
Thank goodness for social media. You’re really just one status update away from dozens of recommendations for a trustworthy and reliable car mechanic, and this is your best bet when you’re in need of speedy repairs. Be sure to ask a follow-up question to the friend that’s recommending someone to be sure it’s not just a nephew who needs some referrals. Make sure they see, know, and most importantly, trust the mechanic.
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Know Your Car’s Maintenance Timeline
Go into your auto repair shop armed with knowledge. Compare your car’s make, model, mileage and age to what repairs and replacements you can expect to be making soon. You can find a general car repair timeline online, and compare it with the guidelines set out in your owner’s manual. We know that reading about cars isn’t the most fun for some, but neither is spending a lot of money on unnecessary part replacements. If something seems off about what your car mechanic is recommending, get a second opinion.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
A car is a huge investment, and you shouldn’t be passive when it comes to spending money on your investment. Ask them to explain, slow down, or flat out spell it out for you if they’re asking you to spend more than you were expecting.
Don’t Always Assume Cheaper is Better
The internet and smartphone apps have made finding a car mechanic a much simpler task than in the past, but shopping around for repairs based on pricing alone can be far more costly in the long run. You should focus more on the quality of work, and the satisfaction of former customers.
Compare pricing on an app like Repair Pal, and then check out their customer reviews across the web. Be sure to eye reviews with the detail of a private investigator scoping a case. If they have 500 5-star reviews, and not a single person has a complaint, something fishy is going on. There has never been a reputable company in this world that someone has not loudly berated on the internet. Make sure they have a healthy mix of 1 – 5 star reviews, with the vast majority being 4 and 5.
What’s your sure-fire way to pick a winning car mechanic? Let us know on our Facebook page!