Find A Mechanic TIPS

Finding the right mechanic can be more of a challenge than finding the right doctor - and perhaps just as important! After all, your good health is dependent upon your physical safety, which is why you need to be extra cautious about where you take your car for repairs. Unfortunately, all mechanics are not created equally, thus we offer the following tips to help make your search more successful.

Ask Around
A recommendation is always a good way to go. Ask friends, co-workers and family members for the names of mechanics that they use. Also be sure to find out about any bad experiences with certain mechanics. You may want to keep away from these service providers or at least approach them with caution.

This is a two-way street. Do some basic research on your car. You should have a file folder where you keep all the information on it. Read your owner’s manual, understand the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and recognize that things like brakes, or tires, or belts don’t last forever. On the flipside, a good mechanic will explain precisely what your vehicle requires before proceeding. Good mechanics use pictures, sound effects and anything else it takes for you to understand. If someone speaks down to you or refuses to be clear, leave.

Find out what cars they service, and if they service your make of car in particular. If you have invested in an expensive vehicle like an Audi or BMW, you will want to find a mechanic that specializes in similar or, better still, the same make. This general indicates that the mechanic has the knowledge and the necessary tools and diagnostics equipment to handle your service or repair efficiently.

Ask Questions
Be aware that you are buying a service and have a right to ask questions. So ask away and insist on having your questions answered in “layman's” terms. A mechanic who refuses to do so may want your business but definitely does not have your best interests at heart.

Be Prepared
If you have indications that there is something wrong with your car, be prepared to express these symptoms and any concerns you might have to the mechanic in as much detail as possible. Making a list is helpful!

Be Patient
You wouldn't want your doctor to diagnose your problem in two minutes, and you don't want your mechanic to do so, either. Take your time, and let the mechanic give your vehicle a thorough once-over.

Neatness Counts
Obviously, a garage is going to have dirt, but a semblance of neatness and order will indicate that the establishment is competent and professional. It will also indicate how your vehicle might be returned. Take a look around, is the lot clean, is the showroom customer friendly, and more importantly are the washrooms safe to use.

Know the Shop's Policies
Once you think you have found the right shop, by all means put your car in their hands. But don't do so without being aware of the shop's policies, including service/labor charges, rates for parts, and guarantees on work. Assume nothing, ask questions up front.

Start Small
Bring your car in for something minor, like an oil change or tire rotation, before you commit to a complete overhaul. This will give you a much better feel for the quality of the shop's work and how they treat their customers.

Be Realistic
You need a mechanic you can get to. Ideally, they should be close to your work or home. Performing regular maintenance lessens the chance of last-minute, high-cost surprises, so make scheduled appointments to take care of your vehicle. Which leads to our next point, very important point.

Develop a Relationship (IMPORTANT!)
Compare these scenarios. Your car is in the driveway, making a noise like marbles in a centrifuge. Who do you think is going to help you quickly and fairly? The mechanic you’ve been having do your regular oil changes and tune-ups, or Trust Me Automotive from the Yellow Pages? Establishing a relationship with your mechanic cannot be understated, the value you will receive over the long term will reduce unnecessary stress, in an already busy world. In addition, repeat business may earn you perks, such as getting bumped to the front of the line when you need emergency service. If you find a good shop, reward them by referring them to your friends.

Are Problems Resolved?
If you do run into problems, you can learn a lot from how the situation is handled. An honest mechanic will want to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and retain your business rather than run the risk that you’ll warn others against using them. How they handle any unexpected obstacles is a telltale sign of the shop’s dependability and quality.

If you find a good shop that feels trustworthy and they treat you with respect, give them the chance to take care of their own mistakes. Good shops always will, even if the trouble is complicated and takes a trip or two. This can be a hassle, but sometimes that's just the way it goes. It's a shame to cast off a good mechanic just because of an unfortunate twist of fate.

You have the right to ask before committing to paying for anything!