Car mechanics are often ranked among the least trusted professionals. We’ve all heard stories about mechanics ripping off customers. For some of us, it’s something we’ve experienced ourselves.
One way around it is signing up for a great vehicle service contract (also known as an extended car warranty), which gives you coverage for repairs and relieves you of trying to find a trustworthy mechanic.
If you want to handle car repairs on your own, here are 7 tips to help you find a trustworthy mechanic.
1. Research mechanics in your area (and outside your area)
You should do research for a new mechanic even before your car breaks down!
When your car is already having problems, you’re more prone to choose the first mechanic you see near you, which may result in a bad experience.
Look around in areas outside your neighborhood. If there is a good mechanic in the outskirts that fixes your car properly for a good price, your car won’t be giving you trouble all the time. It may be totally worth it to travel a bit farther away from home to avoid getting cheated by a dishonest mechanic.
Note: Beware of dealership repair shops. They often overcharge for services that an independent repair shop can do for much less.
2. Ask friends and family for mechanic referrals
Ask everyone you know about the mechanic they go to whenever they’re having car troubles. Also, try to speak to people who have cars similar to yours (perhaps the same make or the same model). You can find people who have your cars through Internet forums.
Many people have a trusted mechanic they have gone to for years. If you show up at the shop with the name of the person who referred you to the shop, you’ll likely get even better service.
When you receive a recommendation, always ask how much the mechanic typically charges and how long they have been in business.
3. Check for certifications and automotive associations
Plenty of independent repair shops (and dealerships) put mechanic apprentices to work on their clients’ cars. An apprentice is someone who is still gaining experience so that they can gain a certification. They are supposed to work under the head mechanic’s supervision and are allowed to do inspections, perform repairs and advise customers on general car care.
Now, while a certification does have some importance, keep in mind that almost anyone can become a certified mechanic with two years of experience and after passing a test. Certifications are not necessarily a guarantee that a mechanic is truly skilled and trustworthy. If you feel more comfortable having an apprentice work on your car, you can ask the repair shop to assign you a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified mechanic.
As far as car associations go, you can check if the repair shop belongs to you the Automotive Service Association, which is the largest organization for auto repair businesses, or AAA, which puts repair shops through a review process.
Watch our video How to find the right car mechanic for more on all the tips mentioned in this post.
4. Find the right specialist for your car
Finding the right mechanic for your car is as important as finding the right doctor. When choosing a mechanic, remember that many repair shops actually specialize in specific car makes and models. Whether you have a Japanese, American or European car, you should look for the repair shop that has the latest training and the equipment necessary to repair any particular issue.
To help you find repair shops in your area, check out a Cartalk tool called Mechanic Files. It has an advanced search option to let you look for shops that specialize in certain car makes.
5. Be informed of what your car’s problem may be
Before you reach the repair shop, you should investigate the problem your car may have.
If the check engine light is on, for example, you can start off by going to any auto part store and having them plug your car through a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) code reader. The car reader can tell you what parts are affected and what may be the possible problem.
You can then take this information and do some research on your own.
When you arrive at your repair shop of choice, you’ll be able to use specific language when describing the issues with your car. The mechanic will know they are dealing with an informed customer and they may be less likely to sell you extra services or charge you higher prices.
One great, easy tool to help you determine if you need a repair based on a DTC mycheckenginelight.net.
Want to know if extended car warranties for used cars cover check engine repairs? Read our recent blog on the types of check engine repairs that can be covered with an extended warranty.
6. Ask the mechanic the right questions
There are at least five questions you should ask your mechanic:
- Do you have experience with my car make and model?
- Will you provide me with a written estimate and a written record of the repairs?
- How quickly can you do the repairs?
- Will you let me choose the car parts you will use for the repairs (ie: used car part or new car part)?
- Will you call me if any unexpected expenses come up before you continue?
Be sure to ask these questions before repairs begin so you can know to trust them for your repairs.
7. Let the mechanic know you’re testing them out
Finally, take a moment to tell the new mechanic that you’re looking for a long-term mechanic and that you are trying them out.
In the long run, mechanics benefit from gaining your trust. A loyal customer will always turn to them and recommend them to others too! Remind the mechanic that you’re looking for fair service and fair repairs and if they can provide you with that, you’ll keep coming back.
Avoid negotiating with mechanics with the right kind of extended car warranty
Vehicle service plans, or extended car warranties, are a convenient way to pay for car repairs without the stress that comes with the repair shop. You won’t ever have to negotiate prices with mechanics or visit several to get various estimates. Vehicle Repair Protection’s low-cost monthly subscription covers your expensive car repairs easily: you take your car to any repair shop, Uproar.car handles the bill fast. You can start the claim right from the Uproar.car app!
Uproar.car has created vehicle breakdown coverage that is simple, trustworthy and affordable. Transforming the extended car warranty marketplace through technology and transparency, Uproar.car offers a full suite of worry-free, no haggle car care plans through low-cost, 100% online, monthly subscriptions that drivers can sign up for in less than five minutes. Get an instant quote today!