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How to Choose a Mechanic

February 03, 2017

Choosing a mechanic is no trivial task. It's your job to make sure your vehicle is maintained to standards and that any symptoms of serious problems are detected. You also want to avoid being ripped off. Many drivers don't have a very good understanding of their cars' individual parts. We can't always determine whether a mechanic is giving us an honest suggestion. The best we can do is try to avoid dishonest, unqualified garages and mechanics. Here are some different ideas on how to choose a mechanic.

Check Reviews

Search Google or Bing for auto shops in your area. If you find one that has lots of reviews (100 or more), its average score is a good indicator of how good the shop really is. Few reviews won't give you a good idea, however. If you see a shop with 400 reviews and an average score of 2.5 out of 5, it's probably best to stay way from it. 4 stars or more would be great.

Ask Questions

Don't be afraid to ask the shop questions about who's performing the service, how much experience he or she has, and other concerns. It's your car. The greenest mechanic on the team probably shouldn't be the only one who carries out an advanced repair or procedure. Ask if an experienced mechanic can supervise or perform the service.

Get Recommendations

The greatest benefit of recommendations lies in association. If your friend knows a mechanic who he/she says is great, you should ask for an introduction. That way, the mechanic associates you with someone he knows and he will be more inclined to provide higher quality service.

If you don't have any connections, you can always ask around and find out where your friends have their vehicles serviced and what they think of the places. Just remember, a person with better knowledge of auto mechanics can probably provide better advice about where to go than someone who knows little about cars.

Look for Designations and Certifications

ASE-certified mechanics have to pass exams every five years. They are knowledgable about every aspect of automobile maintenance and parts replacement. These mechanics may be much more skilled than those who are trained by their individual shops or franchises. Ask around to find out who's certified.

You can search AAA's Approved Auto Repair database for reliable mechanics who are ASE certified. In addition, AAA-approved facilities are pre-screened and must sign agreements stating they will provide services that meet AAA's standards. Their customers are surveyed regularly and the shop must obtain an acceptable score to remain approved.

Go to Independent Auto Shops

In 2015, Consumer Reports found that independent garages provided better service, better prices, better quality and better courtesy than dealership auto shops. If you drive a Honda, there's not a good reason to have your car serviced at a Honda dealership if you are not under warranty. Make sure you research your dealership using the methods we talked about above.

Now you know how to choose a mechanic!

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