Car maintenance and repair could be quite technical and confusing for those who aren’t car-savvy, which is why there are about 258,415 auto repair establishments and 565,110 employees in the US in 2017. There is no shortage of mechanics that can help you maintain and repair your vehicle. However, choosing a “good” auto mechanic (or perhaps the right one for you and your vehicle) is another story altogether.
Finding a good mechanic should be treated with as much study and scrutiny as choosing a doctor. Remember that a car issue can potentially threaten life or limb, so you have to be careful to make sure that your mechanic maintains or correctly repairs your vehicle to avoid not just breakdowns but accidents.
So, before you bring your Subaru WRX to that auto mechanic your colleague recommended to you at work, consider these few best practices and tips to find the best auto mechanic or repair shop for your car:
Referrals and Recommendations
When searching for a good mechanic, ask your friends, neighbors, or colleagues if they have anyone to recommend. Although word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a good mechanic (and generally works for any other service or product), it shouldn’t be your only basis for choosing one.
Check Reviews Online and with the Better Business Bureau
It’s not enough solely base your decision on a friend or family’s recommendation. It’s possible that they’re friends with the auto shop or owe them a favor, or may receive a commission. Whatever the case, make sure you do your homework. Check on how customers review the auto shop to get an unbiased opinion as to their work and service. You can also check for any complaints and feedback through a more official means — the Better Business Bureau. The BBB, if you don’t know already, is a private nonprofit organization that uses a system to assign ranks to businesses based on feedback and complaints from customers. One could check any reviews and complaints regarding a specific auto shop through their website.
You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For
Choosing the most expensive mechanic may not mean getting the best care, and the cheapest may not also mean the worst service. Which is why you shouldn’t judge on pricing alone. Read reviews, do your research, and talk to your potential mechanic or auto shop.
AAA and ASE Certified
Auto shops and repair facilities that are certified by the American Automobile Association (AAA) as Approved Auto Repair (AAR) Facilities follow stringent guidelines and standards for resources, facility appearance, and customer service set by the AAA. You could also check if the mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence with an ASE certification which requires additional training and an actual two-year degree and qualifying for the ASE certification exam. These are both marks of quality and standard, and you could very well be sure that you’re picking a good mechanic.
Pick your auto mechanic carefully. Remember that one lousy maintenance routine or repair job can cause you more than just inconvenience. So follow these tips and choose the right auto mechanic for your car and your safety.