When it comes to finding a professional for almost any reason, selecting the right one for your circumstances can almost always be a difficult job. This can be even more difficult when setting out to find a great auto mechanic, both because there seem to be so many of them and because most people know so little about cars. However, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you find just the right mechanic for you.
The first place that you should start is by getting onto the website of the Better Business Bureau and seeing if the mechanic’s shop has an entry. If they don’t have an entry at all, then you’re probably best off avoiding them until they do. However, if they have an entry that is mostly positive, then the mechanic is probably a safe bet. There’s also another quick and dirty litmus test of a mechanic’s quality: call and see if they can schedule you in for an appointment as soon as possible. If it is within 30 minutes the same day, then their schedule is apparently completely open and they have no work pending, which is usually a very bad sign.
After looking at the BBB’s website and determining how busy the mechanic is, go ahead and set up an appointment to get an estimate on the cost of the repair. The most important element of this step is to get an estimate in writing. This needs repeating: make sure to get your estimate in writing! That way, if the repairs end up exceeding the cost of the estimate, they will have to contact you first. After they give you an estimate, ask them to show you exactly what is wrong with the car. A good mechanic will show you each thing that is wrong with your car, and why you need to replace it. Alternatively, a bad mechanic will not, and will often simply tell you that “it’s broken.”
If you have found a mechanic that you feel that you can trust, go ahead and allow them to fix your vehicle. If the repairs are completed when they claim they will be, then you have probably found a great mechanic. Other details to look out for are large shifts in the odometer, grease left on the seat, and your default radio stations changed around. While these sound like minor issues, they are also some of the most visible ones. If they disrespected the most visible parts of your car, who knows what damage they inflicted on the hidden parts that matter most?
Finding a great mechanic can be a time consuming process, but given the sheer cost that auto repairs can cost, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time – especially if you yourself are not too knowledgeable about car repair. If you have found a mechanic that you trust, worked reasonably quickly, and treated both you and your car with respect, make sure to go back to him – and make sure to tell your friends.