I’ve seen a lot of lists like this one made by other bloggers and they pretty much look all the same. They tell you to look out for some kind of certifications or affiliations, to read Yelp reviews or browse rating sites and while these lists may not be bad at all, I think they are not complete. Certifications are a good indication but it’s important to note that most highly qualified technicians never take these tests and that “highly qualified” is not always a sign of good customer service or honesty. Crooks can take tests and get certified and still be crooks! Affiliations like AAA in the U.S. or CAA in Canada, on the other hand, are often paid-for services offered to shop owners and, more often than not, are simply a way to get listed in their directory. While this sure sets a minimum level of competency, when I think of a “good” mechanic, I expect more than the minimum.
So how do you find a good and trustworthy car mechanic then?
My answer is:
Choose your car mechanic like you would choose your doctor!
Let me explain myself by showing you these 6 easy steps to find a good auto mechanic.
1. Do your own research
Do some kind of research before your car breaks down and you are in a rush to get it fixed. You don’t wait until you’re sick to find a reliable doctor, don’t you? Make some calls and compare labor rates. Remember that a cheaper rate isn’t a sign of honesty, while a higher rate isn’t a sign of competence. Find one that suits you. I would suggest something somewhere in the middle.
Make sure you remember that a mechanic with a higher rate who charges a fair price is still cheaper than one with a lower rate but cheats on labor time and perform unnecessary maintenance.
2. Confidence is key
Find a car repair shop that inspires you with confidence. Go take a look at the shop or use Google street view to find out what the shop looks like. You don’t want to go to some kind of sketchy medical clinic, don’t you?
Do the same with your car repair shop.
3. Give it a try
Take your car in for a regular maintenance and oil change. The first time you go to a car repair shop should be a good experience. Don’t be afraid to go take a look while they work on your car.
If they don’t let you watch, don’t go again!
4. Get to know your mechanic
Talk to the staff and ask questions. If the mechanic is a grumpy old man who doesn’t want to talk with you, just go somewhere else. You want a car mechanic that cares about his customer, just like what you would look for in a good doctor.
5. The doctor knows best
If some additional care is needed on your car, the mechanic should explain everything to you clearly and point out what needs to get fixed right away and what can wait a little longer. You don’t want a doctor who will tell you you’ve got some sort of illness only seconds before rushing you out the door. Also, watch out for mechanics that will push a little too hard on the sales. A good doctor always suggests what he thinks is best for you, but in the end, he listens to you and lets you take the ultimate decision. The same applies ton auto mechanics.
Try to remember that, sometimes, you should listen to his advice. If you don’t feel like you can trust your mechanic when he suggests some maintenance or part replacement, find another one.
6. Build a relationship
When you find an auto mechanic that fits you, always go back to the same shop and ask for the same technician. It could take a little longer to get an appointment but it always pays up in the end. You’ll develop a good relationship with your mechanic and he will tend to care even a little more about you. Just as your doctor, he will also remember your history, which could come in handy if you ever have a recurring problem on your vehicle. That way, he can also suggest the right maintenance schedule for you because he will be aware of how you use your car and how you like to get things done.
Pretty simple? It’s no harder than that!
It could take a little trial and error to find the perfect technician but don’t let it discourage you. Nothing beats the feeling of having your car in good and trustworthy hands!
To end this post in beauty, I will leave a simple advice for you here.
Always tip your car mechanic and preferably in advance (when you already know he’s a good mechanic). A little 5$ or 10$ is not adding much to the total cost of the repair and it will make all the difference for your technician. He will remember you more easily and I can assure you, you’ll get much more benefits than what you paid for!
I hope it helped!
When you find your perfect mechanic, make sure you leave a comment below and tell us why he is so special to you. I know there’s a lot of awesome technicians out there doing all they can to make your trip to the auto repair shop a less painful experience. It’s the perfect time for you to pay them back by letting the world know they exist.
(I’m also planning to feature stories about some of the best mechanics I can find in future posts. You would do me a great favor and I thank you in advance for that.)
Cheers and have a nice day!