Finding an auto repair shop you can trust takes a lot of hard work and patience. But successfully nabbing a talented and honest one is worth it.
Drivers who have cars no longer covered under warranty usually have to trust independent auto repair shops to fix their car when something goes wrong because OEM garages can be expensive.
One of the best places to start is to study information on specialist auto mechanics close to your location. The Good Mechanics web portal will give you access to reviews done by people in the community. Google Reviews might also provide some insight, but remember that people are more driven by a bad experience to write a review than a good experience, so always read each one with a critical eye.
Also, seek out word of mouth recommendations: ask your friends, family, and co-workers if they have had good or bad experiences with their mechanics. Forums specific to your car’s make and model are also a great resource for digging up information. You can always post a thread or discussion asking forum members for their recommendations on mechanics in your area or with help diagnosing your car’s problem, as someone out there has probably experienced the same thing.
If you’re looking at reviews, pay close attention to individual stories of each mechanic’s repair successes and failures. Regarding their failures, how did they deal with it? Were they honest? What were their suggestions to the car owner? Did they easily give up? Were the needs of the owner properly addressed despite the mechanic failing to properly diagnose an issue with the vehicle?
Sometimes, a vehicle can have an issue that’s so difficult to successfully diagnose that it stifles the best available auto repair shops. But not to despair. One way to possibly mitigate this is to seek out repair shops that are experts on your specific vehicle type even possibly down to the type of engine. For instance, if you need assistance on your BMW 328i, search for a range of reputable German specialty auto shops till you land on auto repair shops that have successfully dealt specifically with the 3 Series model range. There are specialized mechanics all over ready to deal with even the most obscure brands or issues.
Just like with any problem in life, understanding a problem goes a long way into successfully making a clear diagnosis and some repair shops are not willing to go the extra mile to do this.
A repair shop in a rush to get your vehicle in their garage as soon as possible without letting you dive into the details or giving you options might be a red flag.
A good auto repair shop whose priority is to focus on the quality of work rather than the output of work is your best bet. Additionally, taking the proper time to diagnose your vehicle correctly is another good sign. A good mechanic will also make sure you understand what’s going on and not try to use confusing language. They shouldn’t be afraid or annoyed to answer any questions you have.
Also, aim for auto repair shops with a clear hierarchy of mechanics. There should be a head mechanic who delegates roles to certain people working in the shop. That way, there will be someone in charge who observes the quality of work and ensure it is uniform and up to a certain required standard.
One mistake with auto repair shops with weak leadership is the potential to cut corners.
This last tip may not seem as instantly obvious when setting out to seek help, but look for mechanics who are very passionate about their work and even better, passionate about the brand of cars they are experts on. It’s a given that they would be willing to go the extra mile just to get the results you need. Of course, you want to know that the mechanic has got the goods to back up his or her passion and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence database is a reliable resource for confirming that.
In the end, see this as an opportunity to find a repair shop you can form a long-lasting, positive relationship with. That way, you will know your car is always in good hands when you have to bring it in.