How To Find A Good Mechanic
It’s easy to tell if your house painter is bad at his job: The boot prints on the floor are a dead giveaway. Same with your lawn guy and your dentist. But a car’s innards are a mystery to most of us–so how do you find a good mechanic? We have a few tips that could save you a lot of trouble.
How to Find a Good Mechanic
These are nine ways to make sure the mechanic you’ve selected is going to be helpful.
1. Compare your mechanic’s rates to the dealer’s
If your car’s brand new, you might feel most comfortable bringing your car to the dealership for repairs. Once the car’s no longer under warranty, however, you may be better off going to an independent mechanic. For major repairs, get a quote from both and check out the price difference.
2. Don’t let any mechanic push you around
A good mechanic won’t pressure you into a making a big repair immediately (unless it’s an urgent safety concern, or it’s something you’ve been putting off.) Good mechanics will share their candid assessment of how many more miles you can go before replacing your tires. They’ll give you advance notice about what you’ll need to fix or replace soon, so you’re not blindsided by a $1,000 bill.
3. Ask questions
Good mechanics don’t mind explaining what they’re doing and why. If your guy blows off your questions or says you wouldn’t understand, that’s a red flag.
4. Look for the ASE sign
ASE, the National Institute for Auto Service Excellence, requires mechanics to pass a demanding exam every five years to keep their certification. The ASE certification means the mechanics are up to date on the latest vehicle-repair techniques and technology.
5. Start with an inspection
Another way to find a good mechanic is to bring your car in for a state inspection. A good mechanic should charge small fees for small fixes and offer lower-priced solutions for major problems. If you feel like you’re being gouged for a windshield-wiper replacement, chances are the bill will be high for more significant repairs.
6. Seek out a specialist
If you drive a Ford Fusion or a Toyota Corolla, it won’t be hard to find an honest mechanic who knows what he’s doing. But if you have an older car, a luxury car or a rarer import, don’t entrust it to just anyone. Ask owners of similar cars for mechanic recommendations. Some mechanic’s shops specialize in imports, or domestics, or in some cases antique or classic cars. Be sure to ask if your mechanic specializes in any particular type of vehicle.
7. Take the old parts with you
Feel like your mechanic might be pushing a pricey repair that you don’t need? If you’re getting something major replaced, such as the brakes or the catalytic converter, ask if you can have the old parts. You can take them to another mechanic and get his opinion on their condition.
8. If you find an honest mechanic, don’t two-time him
If you take your car to a cheap mechanic for minor repairs, you risk getting ripped off. Respect your mechanic’s expertise, and reward his honesty with your loyal business. Building a relationship with your mechanic means they’ll work harder to keep your business because, at the very least, they don’t want to lose a reliable source of income.
9. Get recommendations for local mechanics
Check out sites like ratemymechanic.com or the popular Car Talk website (which has a dedicated mechanic list based on listener recommendations). Be sure to ask friends and co-workers as well. Lots of people have a mechanic that they trust explicitly and, at the very least, you’ll hear about which mechanics in town to avoid.
Car Owner’s Guide
Car owners are faced with a lot of questions. We’ve got answers. Read our Car Owners Guide to make sure you’re getting the most out of your car.