Tips for Finding a Good Mechanic

When you bring your car in for repairs, you don’t want any surprises. You don’t want to have a tire blowout on the way home––and you don’t want a thousand-dollar bill you weren’t expecting, either. However, finding a good mechanic is easy. You can do so by:

     Looking at reviews online

  •     Checking the Better Business Bureau’s website
  •     Asking for recommendations from people you know
  •     Calling around and asking for estimates

 Continue reading to learn more about finding a mechanic near you. You may find it’s easier than you think.

 Start by Looking Online

 You can start your search from the comfort of your own home. Google auto repair shops in your area. When you find a compelling one, look at its:

 Ratings

 We all know that one star means bad, five stars mean good. But how can you tell which reviews actually matter?

 Suppose that you’re comparing two auto repair shops. One shop has five stars with 20 reviewers. The other shop has five stars but only three reviews. Which one is more reliable? The one with more reviews. While it could be a matter of how long a place has been open, in general, the more reviewers and reviews, the better.

 Location

 On Google, anyone can list their home’s address as their business address. Unless you don’t have a problem with a guy fixing your car out of his family’s garage, location can be a key indicator.

You might even find it advantageous to locate a shop that has serious competition in the area. That way, you can get a price from one shop and compare it to a quote you get from another.

 Services

 Some mechanics solely specialize in one thing, like auto body repair or tire replacement. For instance, while Take 5 Oil Change is great for oil changes, they cannot fix things like engine issues, transmission problems, and broken windows.

 You don’t want to tow your car across town to find that they don’t perform certain repairs. Be sure to check a mechanic’s practice areas before you make an appointment.

 Check the Better Business Bureau’s Website

 The Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912, intended to protect consumers’ rights from bad faith business practices. With a simple search engine entry, you can determine whether a prospective mechanic has ever violated industry standards of business ethics.

 It also shows you:

  •     How long the business has been operating
  •     The name(s) of the owner(s)
  •     The business’s physical address
  •     Any complaints or reviews
  •     The business’s phone number

 Here are some things to know about this organization:

 Not All Businesses Have Complaints

 You might look up a business and find that it has no complaints––but it’s not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, either. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Ever hear the term “no news is good news”?

 To be sure, cross-reference your findings on Google.

 You Can Look Up Scams

 Per USA.gov, a scam can comprise many different things, ranging from false advertising to incompetent service. Through the Better Business Bureau’s website, you can look at scams in your area and filter out certain searches based on what you’re looking for. In Florida alone, there are over 250,000 reported scams.

 Ask Around for Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

 You might have a large circle of friends and family members who can recommend certain body repair shops. If not, that’s okay––you can still get reviews from people in your area. You can do this by:

     Going on community message boards. Websites like Reddit, Craigslist, and Nextdoor allow community members to share their opinions. By soliciting recommendations on these forums, you could learn more about your options.

     Looking into your employee benefits. Depending on where you work, your company might offer discounted rates on car repair bills. While this does not guarantee that you will find a “good” mechanic, this option could serve as the starting point for your research.

 Call Around and Ask for Estimates

 It costs you nothing to call your local mechanics and ask them for a quote. Granted, you’ll only get an exact number if you know what’s exactly wrong with your car. However, treat it like a free consultation. Consider the professionalism of the person on the other end. Is that a business you want to associate with?

 In addition to requesting a quote, you could also inquire about the following things:

  •     The mechanic’s certifications
  •     The average turnaround time
  •     How much basic repairs cost
  •     The auto shop’s accessibility and operating hours

 Like many store-bought products, some services also come with warranties. So, for instance, if you’re getting new tires, the mechanic may allow you to exchange them within a certain period if something goes wrong.

 Consider Your Own Personal Preferences

 If you know what you’re looking for, finding a good mechanic isn’t difficult. Here are some questions you should ask during your search:

 What Experiences Have You Had in the Past?

 Think about other repair shops you’ve worked with. What did you like? What didn’t you like? This is important to keep in mind when looking at chains. If you received subpar service at one auto body chain, chances are you’ll have a similar experience at another one just like it.

 Have You Worked with a Specific Mechanic Before?

 You might have been working with the same guy for years, only to find out that he switched locations. If possible, take your car to where your old mechanic works now. You might not get the same exact price, but you can rest assured that the quality of service will be the same.

 Where Do You Live?

 You might have no problem driving an hour to visit your friend or go to the beach. You shouldn’t have to drive that far to find a good mechanic––especially if your junk vehicle car needs urgent repairs. You should peruse mechanics in your area, mostly because:

 

  •     If you keep your car overnight, you might have to pay for the rideshare drive home.
  •     If you have to take your car elsewhere, the cost of towing could add up.
  •     You don’t want your car to break down on the way to the mechanic.

In Conclusion

If you do your homework, understand your options, and weigh your choices, you’re on your way to finding a good mechanic. However, don’t be afraid to trust your instincts. If you get good vibes from a possible auto body shop, great. If not, don’t be afraid to continue your search.