Finding a good mechanic can be tough. But having a good mechanic that you know well and trust is one of the best investments you can make in your car. No matter the make and model, you’ll always need maintenance and sometimes you’ll need repairs. If you have a stellar mechanic in your corner before something goes wrong – you’re much better off.
So how do you find that fantastic mechanic?
Research, research, research.
There are a multitude of resources out there for finding a new mechanic whether you’ve moved, your mechanic has retired, or you’ve discovered your current mechanic is less than awesome.
With these six tips, you’ll be able to put together a short list of good mechanics in the area and then you can dig a little deeper or audition them on a basic maintenance or repair job.
- Ask family, friends, and coworkers. They’ll be honest. Talking to people you trust about their experiences with local mechanics can be an eye-opening experience. Try to find people that have a similar car or at least the same make – some mechanics specialize in certain types of vehicles and it’s disappointing to hear about a great mechanic only to learn he/she doesn’t work on your brand. Also, try to stay objective, even if your friends know a great mechanic, that person may not be the right fit for you – additional research is still required.
- Look for an ASE Certified mechanic. ASE Certification comes from a third-party, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which requires mechanics have at least two years of work experience and pass at least one specialty test. ASE-certified mechanics must renew their certification every five years.
- Factor in affiliation. Many mechanics are affiliated with third parties that help ensure quality service. For example, AAA-certified mechanics are held to specific, high standards and if you have any issues with the mechanic you can get in touch with AAA and they’ll investigate what happened.
- Choose a mechanic that specializes in your make. Many mechanics will only work on certain types of car. Before you get too far into your research, it will serve you well to double check that the mechanics on your short list all service your make and model.
- Read online reviews from places like Car Talk or RepairPal. Both CarTalk.com and RepairPal.com have extensive databases that you can use to find mechanics. Users can also rate and review the mechanics. People are generally quite honest. Read a sampling of reviews, keeping in mind that one amazing or one awful review shouldn’t color your thoughts on a mechanic entirely. Trust the general consensus.
- Check out what the Better Business Bureau has to say about your short list. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) receives many, many complaints about mechanics. Searching through their databases can help you find mechanics to avoid.