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How to Find a Good Mechanic

Education | 07/16/2023 11:48

If you have the know-how and inclination to work on your car yourself, then hurray! While it will eat up more of your time, you will save yourself money and probably a few headaches. But if you are like most of us and don’t have the knowledge or the time (or both), then finding a good mechanic is critical. But how can you find a good mechanic that is reliable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable? 

Here’s how you can find the mechanic that’s right for you and your vehicle.

What are signs of a good mechanic?

When we say “good mechanic”, what are we actually talking about? There are quite a few traits that contribute to a good mechanic. 

They listen to you.

When you go into the shop, it is sometimes hard to describe what the problem is if you are not a car person. You may even resort to saying things like “It’s making a ‘clunk’ sound when I turn”. A good mechanic will listen to as much information as you can give them and not dismiss your issues. You know your car and what is “normal” behavior, and a good mechanic will understand this and use your information to diagnose and fix the problem at hand. If a mechanic is dismissive or repeatedly tells you there’s nothing wrong, find a mechanic who will listen.


They stick to their word.

Cars are essential parts of our lives, and having a car in the shop can really mess up our plans. So when a mechanic says that they will have your car back to you on xxx date, it’s of the utmost importance that they keep their word. Mechanics have busy schedules with lots of cars moving in and out, so it’s easy to see how they can get backed up. But a good mechanic will be sure to give you a realistic date and keep their word.


They won’t rip you off.

If you are not super familiar with cars, you may not have a great idea of how expensive things are to repair. From the time it takes to fix to the parts that need to be bought, taking a car in for a repair can be expensive. Finding a mechanic that will not take advantage of you can be quite a feat. Doing some research ahead of time to approximate a repair cost can help you determine whether or not a mechanic is being fair in their pricing.


They value your business.

There are lots of little things that mechanics do to show us they value us as customers. Cleaning up any messes that make and leaving your car in better condition than when you brought it in is a major part of this. If they take the time to explain the issue, recommend maintenance, give you some insight into how you can prevent future issues, and greet you with a friendly face, it’s safe to say they see the value of your business and want to keep you happy.

How can I find a good mechanic?

If you live in a suburban or urban area there are probably dozens if not hundreds of mechanics to choose from. So how can you sort through and find a mechanic that is right for you?


Step #1. Narrow your search to mechanics that specialize in your make.

While cars generally all work the same way, they vary drastically from make to make. Mechanics tend to specialize in a few different brands, making them more familiar with the problems your car is likely to have. They will be able to diagnose and fix issues more quickly when they are more familiar with your car.


Step #2. Get a recommendation. 

Friends and family are the best people to lean on when looking for recommendations, especially if they have a similar vehicle. They can give you feedback from their experience, letting you know how reliable and trustworthy a given mechanic is.


Step #3. Look online.

If you don’t have friends or family in the area or they are not able to help you in your search, the internet is your next best option for research. Services like Google and Yelp can help you find local mechanics and read reviews to determine how good a mechanic is. You should also use Better Business Bureau (BBB) to be sure that the business is accredited and see if there are any reviews or complaints.


Step #4. Test them out with some routine maintenance.

Once you’ve found a place that you want to check out, try taking your car in for some routine maintenance. An oil change, tire alignment–whatever your car may need. This is a great way to test the waters before a bigger issue comes up with your car that needs immediate attention. 


Step #5. Try to learn from them.

A good mechanic will talk to you and explain any issues that may come up with your car. Try to learn as much from your mechanic as possible when you can. This will help you become knowledgeable and may help you down the road.


Step #6. Leave a review.

If you like your mechanic, be sure to leave a review for them so that other people can find a trustworthy mechanic. Reviews help small businesses to grow and help other people in your situation find what they need. Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List are just a few places where you can leave a review. If you are unsure where to leave a review, ask your mechanic if they have a preference on where to start.


How can I save money at the mechanic?

Going to a mechanic can cost you a lot of money, even if you are going to a reliable and trustworthy one. Cars are expensive to buy and they are expensive to maintain. But there are steps you can take to try to lower your bill.


Know if your car is under warranty.

If your car is still under warranty you will have to take your car into the dealership or into another accredited shop for it to be covered. But if your car is not under warranty, stay as far away from the dealership as possible. Dealerships are in the business of making money first and fixing cars second. They tend to replace parts rather than fix them, charge higher hourly rates, and may even talk you into other “repairs” that are not necessary.


Get multiple estimates. 

Finding a mechanic that you like doesn’t mean you can’t shop around. Taking your car to a few different places will help you compare prices and may help you negotiate your repair bill lower. At the very least it can help you be sure that your current mechanic is giving you a fair price. If there is a discrepancy, discuss it with your mechanic. There might be a completely valid reason for the difference in pricing, but it’s worth bringing to their attention.


Check to see if your insurance offers discounts.

Many insurance companies have a network of auto shops that they work with that may offer discounts. Using a preferred shop may make the process of getting your car repaired go a little more seamlessly as well. The insurance will pay out quicker and there may be less paperwork required on our end. These shops may also offer warranties on their parts and help you get a little more bang for your buck.


Ask for a labor and parts estimate beforehand. 

Understanding how the shop is determining their cost can help you be sure that you are not getting ripped off. You can easily verify the cost of parts by looking online, and you can even get a sense for how long a repair should take. 


Get your repairs done quickly.

Waiting to fix a problem will almost always result in more repairs down the road–and more costly repairs at that. Going to the shop as soon as you can will help you fix the problem for the least amount of money. 


Build a relationship.

Having a good relationship with your mechanic can add up to savings. They may be more inclined to cut you a deal or work with your budget if you are a repeat customer. A good mechanic knows that their business isn’t much without good customers, so it’s mutually beneficial for you to have a good relationship.

That’s how you can find a good mechanic. 

Finding a good mechanic can feel daunting, but it’s important to have a trustworthy and reliable person by your side to help you with your car troubles. After all, most of us can’t afford to be without our cars for too long.


If your issues are with your financing company and not your mechanic, get in touch with Auto Approve! We can help you refinance your car loan to a lower car loan APR and save you money every month on car payments. There are lots of great reasons to refinance your car loan, so don’t wait to reach out! 


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