Choosing the right auto repair shop can save you money and headaches. Finding a trustworthy mechanic who does quality work at fair prices is essential.
Research the shop’s Better Business Bureau ranking, online reviews, and certifications. You can also check with your state consumer protection agency to see if any complaints have been filed against the shop.
Ask For Referrals
The best way to find a trustworthy mechanic is by asking for referrals from friends and family. However, you must be sure that you are approaching the right people. Ensure you ask your clients for referrals only after providing excellent service rather than to get more business. This will make them feel comfortable giving you their contacts.
Word of mouth matters significantly in the auto repair industry, especially for small-town shops. Asking for referrals in person or on social media can be a great way to get the ball rolling. Ensure you know how they can send you a referral, and be specific with your instructions.
Another great referral source is checking online reviews of local repair shops. It would help if you also considered whether they are members of the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or other auto repair trade associations.
Check Online Reviews
Online reviews are an excellent way to determine how other customers feel about a mechanic’s service. Look for reviews with various experiences from both satisfied and dissatisfied customers. Remember that some people are grumpy and try to amplify their negative experiences, but a single one-star review should be taken with a grain of salt.
Consider a shop that posts hourly rates on its website or clearly states expected repair costs. A quality auto repair shop Apopka FL, may offer a warranty on their work.
Many websites provide step-by-step car repair advice, repair estimates, and ratings of local shops. For example, a Car Repair Assistant shows what other consumers paid for a specific repair in your area and lists the shop’s hourly rates. Ask a repair shop why their estimate is different from other shops. A trustworthy shop will explain any differences and offer a solution.
Check the Technicians’ Certifications
Shops should display the blue-and-white ASE emblem, which indicates that all of their technicians are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. To become ASE-certified, mechanics must pass one or more rigorous tests and be re-tested every five years.
If you need help determining whether a particular shop is worth trying out, try them for a minor repair like an oil change or replacement tire. See how well they treat you, and if their work is good, Mattinat says.
Check whether they’re quoting you a fair price for more extensive repairs. Use Consumer Reports’ Car Repair Assistant to get an estimate of what a specific repair should cost in your area, and ask for a written estimate that breaks down the costs of parts and labor. Ask about whether they’ll use generic or original equipment parts. In contrast, generics are typically cheaper. Both CR and the Insurance Information Institute have found that they don’t pose any more of a safety risk than OEM parts.
Check the Location
Once you’ve narrowed your choices, make a few calls to the shops to compare prices. Try using a Car Repair Estimator to determine how much the repairs should cost. Also, ask about warranties and guarantees.
Shops that refuse to let you ride along with the mechanic could be shady, says Mattinat. The mechanic should show you the problem firsthand. You can help them diagnose the issue faster and more accurately.
General auto repair shops typically do good work for less than dealerships. You can also find a few shops that specialize in specific brands. These specialist shops can fix problems quicker and more efficiently since they know technical service bulletins and parts sources inside and out. You can still choose a general auto repair shop for most of your repairs. Just keep records of your estimates, invoices, and work orders.