Not all of us are car experts. And quite frankly, not all of us want to be and that’s okay!
Many of us view our vehicles as tools to get from Point A to Point B. We’re interested in maintenance and longevity. Those of us who view our vehicles this way, however, are most vulnerable to mechanic upsells.
We want our cars to run well and not break down. We’re not looking for the latest upgrades, just the basics. So, when a mechanic says something needs to be fixed or changed out, we tend to believe them.
No need for paranoia or suspicion of mechanics in general, but some are better than others. For some mechanic shop workers, upselling is just a part of their job.
Ultimately, it’s our job to know what our cars may really need or not. But, having a trustworthy and fair mechanic can certainly ease our minds.
So, how can we know if a mechanic is trustworthy and fair?
Read on to discover our 5 tips for finding a good mechanic who will shoot you straight every time.
5 Tips for Finding a Good Mechanic
Finding a great mechanic can save you money and keep your car in top condition longer. Explore the following ways to know if you’re in good hands the next time you take your car to the shop.
1. Bring a Friend
Mechanics have a way of putting you on the spot. As you sit in the lobby waiting for a repair to be completed, your mechanic enters only to tell you that three other items need repairs as well.
You’re then faced with a choice. Either “risk” not getting the repairs done and damaging your vehicle or fork over cash you didn’t intend on spending. It’s truly not an easy decision!
Bringing along a knowledgeable friend, however, can help you to decide. The best case scenario is that your friend also knows a thing or two about cars. The friend you bring along could also be skilled at negotiating and asking the right questions.
The friend you bring along could be able to decipher whether or not the mechanic is fair and trustworthy. They will provide an objective viewpoint because it’s not their vehicle or their money on the line. So, if they say they’d bring their vehicle back to the shop, then trust their judgment.
2. Check Reviews
People are naturally distrusting of mechanics in general. Partly because they don’t much about cars and partly because they’ve had negative experiences with mechanics in the past.
Before going to a mechanic, check out their reviews online. Check on Facebook, Yelp, or online car forums.
You can also see which shops are AAA-approved. Approval by AAA means that the shop has been reviewed and inspected by AAA. It also means they offer 12 month/12,000 mile guarantees on all of their repairs.
Another way to check reviews is by using the Better Business Bureau website.
3. Meet Them
Before you pull your car into the mechanic’s garage, speak with them. If you can’t arrange a face-to-face interview of sorts, then speak with them on the phone.
Get a feel for how they interact with customers. If they seem rude or too busy to speak with you, then that’s not a good sign. You want to a mechanic to listen to your concerns and take the time to explain everything in detail to you.
Ask them about their experience and if they have experience working on your vehicle. Discuss with them what parts they have onsite and which parts they need to order. Ask about their labor costs as well as what quality of products they carry.
The quality of products will also affect your overall bill. So, if you value higher quality products, then don’t be surprised when the bill is much higher.
If you prefer the repairs to be completed at a lower cost, then knowing which products the mechanic uses in advance allows you to make the best decision possible.
4. Shop Appearance
A mechanic who values his business and his customers will keep their shop clean.
Look for cleanliness of the garage itself. Tools should be organized and grease residue should be contained. The garage should also be well-lit and appealing.
The best case scenario is the shop looks as if it was the owner’s pride and joy! If they take time to decorate and hang up pictures of their favorite cars, then it shows they truly value what they do. If they have classic cars on the lot somewhere, even better!
If a mechanic shop’s lot appears dirty and cluttered, then it’s probably best to find another mechanic.
Cars should not be rusting away in the parking lot. Trash should also not be collecting outside. It shows that the mechanic either doesn’t value quality business or they don’t have enough time or staff to keep up with the work.
Either way, it’s not a good sign for you and your vehicle!
5. Learn from Experience
Word of mouth is still a powerful tool! Speak with people you know about their mechanic experiences. Allow them to make recommendations or tell you where not to go.
These people have seen firsthand the service a specific mechanic offered. They know what could possibly happen when you take your car there and how much it may cost.
It’s also important to learn from your own experiences. Most people have had a bad run-in with a mechanic or felt overcharged, so don’t feel bad. Use this knowledge and experience to be more aware in the future.
Another way to learn from experience is to shop around independently and do your research. If the parts are listed for much less online or in the store, for example, then the mechanic may have taken advantage of the situation. If you want to give them another chance, then make sure to ask them directly why a part cost more for them to order than for you to buy in person.
They may have a valid explanation or they may not. Trust your own judgment above all else!
Trusting a Good Mechanic
As the saying goes, “Trust is hard to get and easy to lose.” Finding a good mechanic who you can trust can save you money, time, and effort in the future. They won’t risk losing your trust and they will want to keep you happy.
Want to know shady car mechanics’ tricks? Check out our blog post to learn all about shady mechanic tricks.