Do you dread going to see your car mechanic, or worse you don't have a regular auto mechanic that you currently have a relationship with? Do you lack the confidence in yourself or your current mechanic to properly diagnose and repair your vehicles? Do you feel "talked down to" or taken advantage of when you take your vehicle in for car repairs?
Don't worry, you are not alone. In a recent poll over 50% of American drivers said they would rather go to the dentist than take their car in for repairs. Wow! So, what can you do to protect yourself and your pocket book against a mechanic whom might not have your best interests at heart? Austin Davis, owner of www.TrustMyMechanic.com might just have your answer. Austin says "it is usually what the customer says to the mechanic or repair shop that can lead to communication errors or worse....flat out dishonesty"
You don't have to become a car mechanic yourself, but you should focus on improving communications with the mechanic and educate yourself on the basic operations and functions of your vehicle. Becoming familiar with just the basic premise of how your car functions and what to look for when there is a problem is the key to reducing your car repair expenses and frustration the next time you visit the repair shop.
5 Quick tips to help locate a mechanic or repair shop in your area
- Hands down the best way to find a reliable mechanic is to get references from friends, family members and co- workers. Sure you have heard that before, but did you really TALK to anyone and get a reference before you visited that last mechanic?
- Check the parking lot of the repair shop for abandon looking vehicles or non automotive items like boats, RV's and motorcycles. This could be a tip off that vehicles were left with the shop because of inability of the customer to pay the bill. This could indicate poor communication skills or possible dishonesty of the shop.
- Do you see any well established business vehicles routinely in the parking lot? Does the repair shop have a fleet account with a reputable company you are familiar with? This could mean the fleet manager for that company has already done his homework on this repair shop and feel comfortable taking their large fleet there for maintenance. Government and school vehicles routinely seen in the parking lot usually means the shop was the lowest bidder, and has nothing to say about quality. I would prefer quality over low prices.
- Take your vehicle in to the shop for a quote on a repair item, like new shocks and struts or a tune up and see how you are treated. Ask them for a written quote and about their warranty terms. How are you treated? Ask them if they have a loaner car or rental car service or some way to take you back to work or home. Did you feel comfortable talking with them? Was the shop in chaos, phone ringing but no one answering them, place was a mess, poor lighting, upset customers, was there a waiting room and a clean bathroom? Would you feel comfortable staying there for 4 hours while your car is being serviced?
- Try the shop out with a small repair item and see how they do. Go in for an oil change, tune up, fuel filter replacement or something fairly simple and straightforward. Sit in the waiting room and see how things go. Do you have to make an appointment for something simple, or can you just walk in and wait? Did they offer you coffee, did they use a floor mat inside your car, did they use a "fender cover" to keep the grease off your paint? Did they do the repair in a timely manner, was it done for the price quoted (of course you get a price quote BEFORE any work is started), do they take all forms of payment, were they courteous and really want your business? Would you go back?
Austin gives his candid review on an up and coming topic. Can you Hydrogen Car Conversion