We all need a car mechanic / reliable garage at some point in our lives, and one of the biggest frustrations is finding one that’s honest and won’t rip us off.
It’s great if you happen to have a relative that’s in the business; not only can you trust them, but you get the family discount on top of it. But, for most of us, that’s just not the case.
So, we are left searching for a mechanic we can trust to take our cars to for years to come. That’s the thing. If mechanics just understood we’d become repeat customers if they just treated us fairly, they would actually make more money. But, alas, some don’t practice this basic logic.
We are here to find the ones that do. So, let’s get to it.
How to Find an Honest Mechanic or Repair Shop You Can Trust
First and foremost, don’t wait until you NEED a repair shop to find one. If you’re missing work because your car broke down and you need it fixed immediately but you don’t know of a reliable mechanic, then you’re in a bind.
That’s not the ideal time to hunt for a mechanic, ask questions and use this guide for help. If you have an urgent need, you can’t wait. You may just have to randomly pick one and hope for the best.
Here’s How to Narrow Down Your Search
Go to ALLDATA® and look up auto mechanic shops in your area. They list shops and give information on certifications, photos, personnel, and shops’ areas of expertise.
Having this basic information about each auto shop that you’re investigating can direct you towards the right one.
Look in your local papers, Chamber of Commerce blogs and local periodicals. Many times you’ll find articles and stories written by a particular local auto mechanic shop. If you do, it’s a good bet if they’re willing to put time into their community, they’re willing to develop personal relationships.
Check your local Chamber of Commerce, Yelp, Angie’s list, City Search and Google to see if they have any bad reviews. When you Google them, put each of these keywords behind their business name one at a time: bad, sucks, scam, rip off and refund.
Then, to see if there are any more reviews about them that may not be on sites like Yelp, go to Google and put their business name and: review into the search bar. Sometimes, you’ll strike gold with this method.
Once you get to the point where you really think you have zeroed in on a good auto mechanic shop, check your state’s Dept. of Consumer Affairs / Trading Standards and see if they have any complaints on them from past customers.
Check with your local car enthusiast clubs / forums. Many times, they will have lists of preferred mechanics that you can use to start your search with. But, many times they have lists of blackballed mechanics as well. Those would likely be people to avoid.
Once You’ve Got It Narrowed Down
As soon as you have only 2-3 shops on your list, you should consider visiting them. Nothing is better than a little bit of face time.
Here are a few things to look for while you’re there:
1. Is there a pile of junk cars out back or around the side? Do they have a bunch of nearly abandoned looking cars laying around?
If they do, they may be stripping parts and using them on customers’ cars. Also, shops that don’t care about appearances or other people’s cars won’t likely care about yours either.
2. Do they have a Better Business Bureau paper framed on their wall showing membership? Businesses that do have a reputation to protect.
3. Ask what year software they are running in their diagnostic equipment. The software is updated with a new version each year. So, if they are more than 2 years behind, they should have a good reason why. Or you can try diagnostics yourself. A lot of tools nowadays are NOT a lot of money and quite simple to use. See here…
Use the above information to find a mechanic shop that you can trust so you’re ready when trouble strikes instead of having to resort to a less than honorable company later.