No matter how handy you are, there are some repairs for which you'll need a pro. That's why it's particularly important to find an expert auto mechanic. Here are the steps you should take to make an informed and smart decision on the right car mechanic – whether you need them now, or down the road. Step 1: Make a short list using peer reviews and recommendations.
What are people saying online? Look for mechanics in your area with positive reviews on Yelp
, Angie's List
, Car Talk's Mechanics Files
, and the Better Business Bureau
. You can also take advantage of your social networks by asking for auto mechanic referrals and recommendations. Step 2: Check for certification.
An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is a good indicator of a trustworthy and trained mechanic. You should also look for a shop that shows, in-store or on their website, affiliations with reputable establishments such as AAA, the Automotive Service Association (ASA), and Yelp awards. Another sign of credibility is if the shop services classic or specialty cars that require advanced expertise. Step 3: Test out a new auto mechanic with something small.
When you find a mechanic that has positive reviews and the right certification, try them out with a routine and inexpensive service, like an oil change or filter replacement. This will give you a look at how the mechanic treats customers and runs the business. Step 4: Ask questions about the service and costs.
An honest mechanic has nothing to hide, and should be happy to answer all of your questions about a service or repair. If you don't understand why a mechanic is diagnosing a repair or service, say so. A reliable mechanic will walk you through the facts of the problem, tell you (or even show you) exactly what's wrong, and create a customized plan of action to solve the issue. Step 5: Get the billing breakdown.
A good mechanic will provide an itemized quote for your repair service that includes a breakdown of parts, labor, and additional fees or taxes if applicable. If you don't understand exactly what you're paying for, ask your mechanic to explain how and why they billed the amount. Pro Tip:
Always have your written quote with you when it's time to pay the bill, so you can compare the two costs and make sure you haven't been charged for something without authorization.
Follow these steps and you'll be ready to select a master mechanic for your car. And once you find a mechanic you like, don't forget to give them a positive review online so you can help someone else find a trustworthy and reliable pro.