Ask Your Savviest Friends Who They UsePoll several of your friends and family members to find out where they take their cars for repairs. If the same business comes up more than once, you could be on to a winner.
Find Out Who Services the Big Business Fleets in Your AreaDelivery vans, taxis, company cars, government vehicles they all have to stay on the road, so you better believe they're taken to a good mechanic when they need maintenance work or repairs. Do a little digging to figure out who services the big fleets in your area. Then, consider taking your business there.
Not sure how to find out? Just ask a few drivers who their company uses.
Search for a Good Mechanic OnlineThe Mechanics Files over on CarTalk is a great place to look for a mechanic recommendation, or to check up on a mechanic that you're considering. It features reviews of over 30,000 mechanics!
Choose Someone from the AAA Approved Auto Repair NetworkEven if you don't have AAA, choosing a shop from their Approved Auto Repair Network can be a great way to vet a mechanic. All participating shops must offer 12 month/12,000 mile warranties on all repairs, use ASE or manufacturer-certified technicians and pass an annual AAA inspection.
Look Up ASE and Manufacturer-Certified ShopsWhen a mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the manufacturer of the particular make of car that they work on or both, that's a pretty good indication that they know their stuff:
Interview Your Prospective Mechanic
Before you hand over any work, ask your mechanic all of those questions that you have on your mind:
- How many years have they been in business? How many years of experience do they have?
- Do they guarantees their work? What sort of warranties do they offer?
- Are all of their mechanics ASE-certified? What type of training do their mechanics have?
- What types of parts do they use new, used, OEM, after-market?
- Can you provide your own parts?
- What types of vehicles or work do they specialize in
- Are estimates free? Are there certain types of inspections that you'll have to pay for?
- Do they offer loaner cars or a free shuttle while your car is in the shop?
- Do they guarantee their estimates
- Do they have different labor rates for different times/different types of work?
- What are their payment policies?
The best time to find a mechanic is before anything major happens. If your car is running smoothly now, use your next scheduled maintenance task oil change, tire rotation, etc. to test out a mechanic's skills and professionalism.
Need to start the relationship with a major repair? Ask as many questions as you need to to feel comfortable, and make sure he shows you what's broken. A reputable mechanic should be willing to do whatever it takes to put you at ease and gain your confidence.