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Finding a trustworthy mechanic can be challenging. Someone your buddy recommended could still provide substandard work by incorrectly diagnosing problems or charging too much. What can you look for while you’re in that waiting room, on the phone or online, to make sure you get the best car repair for your money? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but if your chosen shop has these characteristics, you’re probably in good hands.
Certification: One peace-inducing bit of evidence that your vehicle will be treated well is a certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). A repair shop with an ASE-authorized sticker has taken the time to be evaluated for its mechanics’ working knowledge of vehicles and attention to industry standards.
Cleanliness: A well-maintained waiting room may not be on the top of everyone’s list. There’s something charming about 2005 issues of Track and Field and burnt coffee on tap. But take a peek at the shop floor. Is it on par with your teenage son’s bedroom? If so, the shop may have no good system of organizing and maintaining its tools–which is bad news for a customer who wants to make sure the equipment used to service his or her vehicle is in good condition.
Clear Language: Sadly, many people know that car sales lots can be a good place to practice reading your bologna meter. So can repair shops. If the mechanic tells you, “I wouldn’t drive this another mile,” be sure you get a good explanation as to why, and be wary of those who are impatient with your questions. The customer has a right to know what’s happening under the hood–maybe not in blow-by-blow detail, but enough so that he or she has a basic grasp on what that part does and why it’s malfunctioned. If the mechanic is unwilling to explain this, it could be because he knows that bologna meter will go into high alert.
Credibility: Often, the best repair shops are like fine restaurants–they don’t advertise aggressively, but rely on word of mouth. Although we cautioned up front against choosing a mechanic based on word of mouth alone, it still speaks volumes if a shop’s customer feedback is consistently good. Pay attention to online reviews and to what you hear from other customers. Nothing beats consistent praise to boost reliability factor.
Categorized: Finally, seek out repair shops that specialize on your specific brand of vehicle. If a mechanic has worked on 500 other cars or trucks almost exactly like yours, he or she will be better equipped, from general experience, accurately diagnose the problem. Furthermore, the shop will have the appropriate diagnostic computer software and owner’s manuals to better address your particular problem.
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