How to find a good auto mechanic

Choosing a Reputable Auto Mechanic in Phoenix

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certifies car mechanics by testing them twice a year on several areas of auto repair. The mechanics who have passed these tests have a blue and white NIASE patch on their uniforms. The car owner can also contact NIASE to find a list of certified auto mechanics in their area. Another organization that tests or certifies auto mechanics is the Association of Diesel Specialists. Certified ADS mechanics must attend schools to keep current with new technologies and meet high standards for service. Other resources are the Better Business Bureau and of course, word of mouth from people who’ve used a certain auto mechanic and have been pleased with their service.

Once the car owner has done preliminary research they should call a shop and ask for the basic prices on jobs like tune-ups, or oil and oil filter changes, for the make and model of heir car. They should ask what the hourly rate for labor is and whether the shop has parts for their type of car. If the car owner is comfortable with the phone conversation, they should visit the shop in person and look it over. An auto repair shop should be clean and well organized. The work from a shop that’s filthy and disorganized is more likely to be substandard. The owner should see if the shop has up to date diagnostic and testing equipment, and should ask if anyone in the store has attended a factory school or other classes lately to learn how to use the latest equipment. The shop should also have an up-to-date service manual for the owner’s car, though if they don’t have one this isn’t a fatal flaw. A shop that stocked every service manual for every car wouldn’t have room for much else. The owner should offer to give the mechanic a copy of their car’s service manual and the mechanic should be willing to take it and study it. The shop should also have the right tools for the job that needs to be done, or have a relationship with a specialist that does.

When it’s time for the repairs to be done, the owner should get a second opinion and estimate from another repair shop that they’ve spoken to and examined. A huge gap in the estimate of one shop in comparison to another is cause for more investigation. The cheapest place might not be the best place to have work done.

The owner should ask for a written estimate. Many states require the mechanic to provide one anyway, and to contact the car owner if it’s found that the repair is going to cost more than the original estimate. The car owner should obtain an estimate that has as much detail as possible.

3 Responses to "How to find a good auto mechanic"

  1. Jeff Madison says:

    I like your tip on finding an auto mechanic that has met AAA’s standards. I would imagine that finding a shop that is accredited in this way would be a good sign that they will take care of your car. My wife and I are looking for someone to do some repairs on our car so we should remember to find a shop that is AAA accredited.

  2. I agree that an auto shop should be clean and well organized. I went to a shop the other day to get my ac fixed, and it was pretty unorganized and very dirty. I will have to remember to go to a different one next time around.

  3. I appreciate your advice on looking for an auto mechanic who has an up to date service manual on site. I would imagine that finding someone who has a manual on hand would be pretty knowledgeable in your car. My Volvo has been acting up recently so when I look for a mechanic to take it to I’ll have to remember to look to see if they have an owners manual.

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