Whether you’re buying a new car or your old car mechanic just moved away, finding the right professional to do your regular car service can make a big difference. To keep your wallet from getting jacked up while your car’s on jacks, consider the following.
Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
Having routine maintenance done correctly is necessary if you want to be able to use your car’s warranties should anything happen to the covered parts. Many times, the cheapest mechanic is the one who’ll cut corners and cost you big in the long run.
Look for certifications like ASE to ensure that the technician knows what he or she is doing. ASE stands for “Automotive Service Excellence,” as well as for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence that grants these certifications. Beyond the large array of ASE certs, you can also look for mechanics with manufacturer certificates that’ll make them more familiar with your vehicle.
Consider Using Your Auto Dealer’s Shop
Being able to buy and properly install original equipment is important, so many people prefer to go to a dealership for all their maintenance needs. These branded shops typically require all the certifications that would pertain to your car for all their mechanics. Thus, they may have somewhat higher rates than an independent car shop that doesn’t have these parts and certs, but it’s a worthy trade-off. Dealerships tend to keep up to date about factory recalls as well.
A Car Mechanic to Match Your Needs
Should you request a particular mechanic to look after your auto maintenance and repairs? Most dealerships keep relatively detailed records of all the work that you have done there, so in theory any car mechanic at your regular shop should be able to pick up where his or her coworker left off.
Nevertheless, it can be helpful to find a service technician who will understand your individual vehicle and can communicate well about it. You may also want to line up a second go-to mechanic for getting a second opinion on any major repairs.
Additional Factors to Consider
If you simply type in a search for “mechanic near me,” you’ll likely see a long list of automotive shops in your area. Add the word “dealer” to the front of those terms to narrow the results down for your car model. Having a shop that’s close to home will be helpful if your car won’t start one morning and you need it towed there.
The shop itself should be well-organized and relatively clean. If the shop looks like a mess, then you’ll have to wonder how it’ll look under your car’s hood after each servicing.
If simple services like replacing your windshield wipers or changing the oil cost a lot more than average, then you can only imagine how much more expensive fixing the big issues will be. An easy way to determine if the shop charges its customers fairly is to find out the average rate for a service and then compare the prospective shop’s prices to it.
Try Out Some Technology for Your Tune-ups
There are actually a few car maintenance apps available to help you track when and what car service needs to be done. Some will even allow you to snap a picture of your receipts to keep a record of past work. You can show any new mechanic your vehicle’s history right off your smartphone. Thus, you may feel less constrained in going to a regular mechanic or even car shop for your auto repair and maintenance needs.
Resources to Find Quality Car Service
Although searching for “auto repair near me” will get you a list of car repair shops to work with, you’ll need a way to narrow things down from there.
Check online reviews. While it’s unlikely that you’ll see many reviews specifying a particular mechanic, getting an idea of how the shop performs will let you know if you’re even looking in the right place.
For more specific requirements, you could search or post on an online forum that’s more targeted to your vehicle. However, the convenience of the suggestions will depend on whether any of the other users live nearby.
Word of Mouth
Ask your friends and family. Word of mouth still counts for a lot in this industry. Seek advice especially from anyone who owns a similar make and model to yours.
Just like your primary doctor can often fit you in for an urgent appointment before another doctor could, having a good relationship with your auto mechanic can also keep waiting and costs down. In any case, we hope that we’ve given you a better idea of what to look for in a car mechanic.