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How to find the right mechanic

Next to a home and a college education, an automobile could be one of the biggest investments many anyone ever makes.

Since cars are such a significant commitment, finding the right mechanic is similar to choosing the right contractor for a home. Should an accident happen, car owners want to know they’re covered, and a trustworthy mechanic is as much a protection plan for a vehicle as car insurance. A good mechanic can not only help fix a problem, but prevent problems from developing as well. When looking for a mechanic, it’s best to look for a few telltale signs that can indicate whether or not he is the auto professional for you.

What does the shop look like?

A mechanic’s garage can offer several hints as to how good that mechanic and the staff are at their work. All garages are going to have some clutter, and parts lying around shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, a shop that looks as though it hasn’t been cleaned in a while might be a red flag.

It’s also a good idea to check out the vehicles that are in that shop for service. Car owners who take good care of their vehicles tend to find good mechanics, so if the cars in the shop appear well taken care of, that’s a good sign. Even if the cars aren’t new but appear well taken care of, that could be indicative of a talented staff that’s capable of keeping a car running longer, a significant benefit when considering the cost of vehicles today.

Is the staff courteous?

Many people are not comfortable with having their vehicle’s maintenance needs handled by the mechanics at the dealership where they purchased their car. Some feel that dealership’s may gloss over problems in the hopes that you’ll buy your next car from them. It is more common that people seek out an independent mechanic.

Oftentimes, people say they find independent mechanics to be more courteous and attentive. That’s probably because dealership mechanics often work on vehicles under warranty, and many of the jobs they’re performing are essentially free, giving them fewer reasons to be overly courteous or attentive. An independent mechanic and his staff usually try to treat you well so you will be a repeat customer.

Are certifications prominently displayed?

You’ll want a certified mechanic working on your vehicle. If such certifications, which include advanced course work and ASE certifications, aren’t prominently displayed, that could be an indicator the mechanic isn’t as up-to-date as he or she could or should be. Most qualified mechanics proudly display their certifications in the front office of their shops.

What are the payment policies?

Labor costs can change dramatically from garage to garage, and a reputable garage will spell out their costs, either on the wall or for you upon request, before you have any work done. If the person you speak with is reluctant to share such rates, that’s not a good sign.


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