A mechanic is a lot like a doctor, once you find a repair shop (doctor) that you trust, it is a good idea to build a history so they know your needs and your vehicles’ needs (or your health history and your body’s needs.)
Below are 5 tips – How to choose a good auto repair shop.
First of all, the location needs to be convenient. Is it close to your home or work? Hours of operation? Can you have the vehicle worked on while you are at work? Will the auto repair shop provide a ride to and from their facility? Does the auto shop have Saturday service? Is it easy to schedule an appointment?
2. Check Online Reviews
Auto repair shops can range from the dark, dingy, unprofessional, engines and transmissions laying around leaking engine oil type shop to the bright, painted epoxy floors, technicians in uniforms, professional waiting room and staff. Let your fingers do the walking and begin your search online.
Consider visiting review sites such as Yelp and Google where you are able to view photos, videos, and of course the all important customer reviews. As you search for an auto repair shop, pay attention to the number of reviews, how high the company is ranked, and make sure to read the reviews. There will usually be a few good and a few bad but be sure to read several reviews in order to get a good sense of what most people say.
This is a grey area, let me explain. Auto repair prices will always range depending on the quality of parts, the workmanship, what’s included in a particular repair job, and the services/conveniences that the auto repair shop is able to offer. So asking for the price is usually a loaded question. If you are looking for a general idea about what an auto repair shop charges, a option is to ask how much does an engine oil change cost?
I enjoy doing business with a place that is well-established, clean, has friendly staff, along with a few other criteria. If you have 5 – 10 minutes to stop in to your local shop, you will end up walking away with a sense of how you will be treated and how your vehicle will be treated. Don’t be shy to let someone know that you are only there because you are looking.
5. Qualified Mechanics
Over the past 15 years, I have seen my fair share of mediocre mechanics. Here are few things to help in the search for a great mechanic.
Ask to meet the mechanic who will be working on your vehicle. Even if you only say “please take good care of my car”, it will leave an impression on the mechanic and make the job personal for them.
Find out if the mechanic is paid hourly (has no incentive to rush through your job) or if they are paid by job, also known as flat rate, (has an incentive to rush through the job).
Lastly, ask if the mechanic regularly works on your vehicle. Do they have the knowledge and expertise to be the mechanic that you trust with your car?
Once you find the good auto repair shop
Once you find the auto repair shop and mechanic who is trustworthy, competent, thorough, educated, and ASE certified, stick with them. You might see a coupon or discount for a cheaper tune-up or brake job but it may very well end up costing you more time, money, and headache than if you stayed with your trusted mechanic.
A great auto repair shop or mechanic will stand behind his work and if he/she should make a mistake, he will stand by his work and do whatever it takes to correct it.
Feel free to post your thoughts or experiences!
By Eric Sevim – A+ Japanese Auto Repair, San Carlos | ASE Master Certified Technican