If you lease your vehicle, you may need to have service performed at a dealership. Otherwise, federal law allows you to choose any mechanic, without affecting your warranty coverage.
Typically, independent repair shops are less expensive than dealerships. Independent shops may also complete factory service training that can prove valuable.
Whether you prefer to use a dealership or independent garage, you still need to find a reliable, honest mechanic for scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs. Follow these tips to find a good mechanic in your area.
Choose a Mechanic That Knows the Make
Vehicles change every year, making it difficult for a mechanic to know everything about every manufacturer’s make. Consequently, it makes sense to choose a mechanic that works in a garage that focuses on your vehicle’s make.
They’re more likely to have the training and equipment needed to service your vehicle quickly and efficiently.
Ask for Recommendations
Word-of-mouth is often a great way to find a good mechanic. Friends and family with similar vehicles already know how well their mechanic performs and whether their fees seem reasonable.
Check Review Sites
The internet offers many online resources that can help you narrow your search. Google reviews are a good starting point. Sites like Cartalk can direct you to mechanics in your area, plus you check out their reviews. YourMechanic offers customer reviews and free estimates, and the mechanic comes to your home or office.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is a non-profit organization which regularly tests mechanics and shops for appropriate technologies and skills. Look for their certification, as all technicians must pass eight-core tests, have at least two years of hands-on experience, and must be recertified every five years.
Look for Additional Certifications
Many automakers offer factory service training. Mechanics may also upgrade their skills through service equipment manufacturers, training companies, automotive parts suppliers, and local colleges.
Most times, you’ll see the mechanic and garage certifications on their website or on their office walls. If you don’t see them, ask.
Check Their Profile on the Better Business Bureau Website
Always check whether the business is Better Business Bureau accredited. Garages committed to customer satisfaction aren’t afraid of scrutiny. Plus, if you don’t like the way the garage handles your business, you have a way to make a formal complaint.
Try Out the Garage
Before you choose a garage for your long-term vehicle care, take your car in for a minor repair or routine maintenance. This will give you a good idea of whether you want to deal with them, or not.
What’s The Warranty on Their Work?
Warranties can vary greatly between garages. Call them and ask them what they offer and compare this to others in your area.
After all, most people logically choose a mechanic conveniently located near their home or work. If you live in an urban area, you may have many mechanics to choose from. Why not get the best possible value for your money?
Wherever you decide to take your vehicle, make sure that you stay on top of routine maintenance. A well-maintained vehicle is safer, and a safer vehicle is less likely to cause issues that could lead to having to file a claim against your auto insurance policy.