For many people, a vehicle is a significant investment, often second only in value to a home. After all, your car is your pride and joy and is going to be with you for a long time. And when your car needs work, you will want someone who will get the repair done diligently, and most importantly, someone who won’t overcharge you for the work. But how do you know which auto repair shops are honest and which ones want to take you for a ride? Scroll below for a few tips which will help you pick out a trusted automobile repair centre.
1. Ask Around:
This is probably the easiest way around to identify good auto mechanic repair shops. Obtaining referrals from close friends, family, colleagues and neighbours can go a long way toward finding the right mechanic and car repair shop for you. Word-of-mouth referrals can save you time spent on research, as most often than not you will get an honest referral based on someone else’s experience. Better yet, if you know someone who is a serious auto enthusiast, they are more likely to provide you a quality recommendation that will go a long way in the maintenance of your car. They may also tell you which ones to avoid.
2. Check online reviews:
Your family and friends might not have covered all of your options or have had a major automobile issue that needed attention. Use online reviews to understand how other people have been treated in the past. Based on the make of your vehicle, make a note of anything that is particularly good or bad, such as the service, length of time in the shop, and the cost. Look for high ratings with individualized details that give the review authenticity. A good idea would be to have a checklist of things to check out. Also, check to see if the repair shop took the time to address customer concerns.
3. Shop around before an emergency strikes:
It is advisable that you don’t wait until you actually need a mechanic to start looking for one. When the need for the services of a mechanic arises you should already have an auto repair shop in mind. Hasty decisions may end up costing your wallet more, especially if the shop you take your vehicle to does shoddy work. Finding a good auto mechanic beforehand can save you a lot of headaches down the line, especially if you can locate a great mechanic before your car begins having issues.
4. Look for specialized experience/Certifications:
Experience is critical when choosing an auto repair shop. The more years they have been in business, the more knowledgeable they’ll be in diagnosing car problems and providing reliable repair solutions and maintenance guidelines. Experienced auto mechanics will know what is expected when it comes to serving clients and ensuring that they’re satisfied with their services. Auto mechanics can also be certified by a few different entities. Seeing an ASE certification is definitely a huge plus. Of course, lots of people have diplomas that don’t necessarily mean much.
5. Don’t make a decision solely based on the price:
While pricing will certainly affect your decision, choosing the cheapest option may cost you more money. If you have done your research, you will have an idea of what a repair or service may cost for your vehicle. Pay attention to exactly what is included in the price. A great price may indicate minimal work, whereas a high estimate may mean you are paying for unnecessary parts or services. There’s an industry standard for many types of repairs, especially if it’s going through your insurance, but some services range in price from mechanic to mechanic.
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Your mechanic should be approachable and be able to explain to you in terms that you will understand whether it is from an oil change to something more complex. make sure you get estimates from several shops in the area to get a good idea how much it is going to cost. Request a written estimate so you can see exactly what you are being charged for at each shop. A good, honest mechanic will take the time to explain any work that your car might need. And they do it in a friendly and helpful way without being condescending.
7. Dealership or Local Shop:
There are a few key differences between a dealer garage and a regular car mechanic shop. If you have a complex vehicle-specific issue, like having access to quality car parts and having qualified specialists to do the job, you might be better off going to a dealer who focuses on one car brand. On the other hand, these brand specific dealers are expensive on the pocket, because in theory, you’re dealing with someone who only works on your type of car. If you’re getting routine or even heavy-duty work done on your car, a local garage will be your best bet. They can handle major fixes like alignment, electrical issues, engine repair or windshield repair without charging you an arm and a leg.
8. Test the waters, with something small:
The best time to find a mechanic is before anything major happens. Before you commit to a hefty bill with a large repair, book in for a routine job such as a general service – oil change, tire rotation, etc. to test out a mechanic’s skills and professionalism. From here, you can see how they work, and assess the whole experience. Start building a relationship so when you need to come in for an emergency repair or large service, you are confident you are going to be looked after for a fair price.
Choosing the best car repair shop doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take some work and a little forethought. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of any auto shop you are considering and use that to gauge the quality of the service. Choosing the right auto repair shop can lead to a long-term relationship with a mechanic who knows your vehicle better than you do.