If you’re not lucky enough to be related to a mechanic, it might seem like a daunting task to find one you can trust. Many people—myself included—don’t have the in depth automotive knowledge necessary to fix a car on their own. This makes finding a reliable and trustworthy mechanic even more important. You’ll want to find someone who has your best interests in mind and won’t try to make a quick buck off your lack of expertise.
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My dad was a mechanic, so for me, finding reliable advice and honest quotes was—and still is—rather easy. I talked to my dad and polled a few friends on social media to ask for their advice on finding a trustworthy mechanic. Here’s a short list of things you can try to help you find a good mechanic and to developing a long relationship with.
1. Ask Friends
Post a question on Facebook and ask people you know, who they use. People are very willing to help and often times you’ll start to find a trend in the names being repeatedly recommended.
Ask around at a family party or when you’re out with friends. A referral from someone you trust is worth 1000 marketing campaigns saying they are the ‘Best Shop in Town’. It’s sometimes hard to know who to trust, but at least your friends can give their honest opinion.
2. Online Research
In addition to polling your friends, do some online research before you visit a mechanic’s shop. You can visit sites like Yelp, the Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.org/), Google and even their Facebook page to get an idea on how other people rate their business>
It’s important to take online reviews with a grain of salt. Take into consideration who is leaving negative reviews and what they are complaining about. How the business responds to complaints is also a good indicator of the way they will treat you. Not everyone is going to be perfect, but it’s how they attempt to make it better that counts.
3. Visit In Person
For me, it’s not just about price; it’s also about customer experience. I want to be treated like a valued customer and work with someone who respects me. I want someone who will teach me instead of talk down to me. I also like to feel like I have options and don’t like being pressured.
Decide what’s most important to you before you go in. Think about things like hours of operation, distance from your home/work and how friendly they are. Trust your gut and be sure to listen to that voice in your head.
4. Don’t Wait Until You Need a Mechanic
Don’t wait until your vehicle breaks down before you start to build a relationship with your mechanic. Do your research ahead of time and find someone that you trust before you need them.
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My dad always made it regular practice to point out things that could be done to prevent trouble down the road. As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and it’s never truer than with your car. A good mechanic should point out things that could be fixed today or should be taken care of shortly to avoid more costly repairs in the future. You might find a cheaper place that gets you in an out quickly, but that may come at a bigger price down the road.
5. How Long Have They Been in Business?
Look at how long they’ve been in business. Maybe you’re new to town and don’t really know anyone yet. Maybe they don’t have a Yelp page, they aren’t on social media and (gasp) don’t even have a website.
Businesses might get ahead by being dishonest in the short term, but that’s not a lasting strategy in any industry. If you’re in a new city and don’t have many friends yet, try asking people who own local businesses who they would recommend.
I think the best thing to keep in mind is to be prepared. Do your research and ask around before you’re stuck in a panic and in a grind for repairs. With someone lined up, you can feel a little better when your engine sputters and you don’t have to look for the closest or quickest guy in town.
What other advice would you add to this list? What criteria are most important to you? How did you find your mechanic.
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