Table of Contents
- Ask Friends and Family to Recommend a Reliable Auto Mechanic
- Look Online for Recommendations and Reviews
- Check the Better Business Bureau
- Check for Certifications
- Make Sure the Autobody Shop Fits Your Criteria
- Find the Right Bodyshop
- Has the Latest Equipment
- Is Well Organized
- Start with a Small Job
- Ask Questions
- Research Estimates Online
- Ask for a Timeline
- Ask for a Warranty
- Get a Second Opinion
- Don’t Give in to Pressure Tactics
- Stay Informed
Over the last five years, Americans spent an average of $1,986 on vehicle maintenance and repairs. Whether you’re taking in your vehicle for something as simple as an oil change or something as complex as repairing your car after an accident, you want to find a reliable auto mechanic to do the work.
A reliable auto shop is one that charges fair prices, is honest and does good work. While it would be nice to just go to the nearest autobody shop, it’s worth it for you to take some time to find the top auto garages in your neighborhood.
We want to help you find an autobody shop that you can form a longtime partnership with. Keep reading to learn how to find the right person to trust with your vehicle.
Ask Friends and Family to Recommend a Reliable Auto Mechanic
Ask friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors to see if they recommend a reliable autobody shop. Remember to ask what brand of car they drive.
Not all autobody shops can perform repair and/or maintenance work on every type of car. If your friend drives a Porsche and you drive a Kia, the same shop may not work on both brands.
Ask those giving recommendations on what they liked least and most about their experiences with the auto mechanic.
Look Online for Recommendations and Reviews
Even if you have a recommendation from someone you know, you should always go online to see what their performance shop reviews say. If the shop has a website, take a look at their website to make sure it’s professional-looking.
See if they’re on social media. And look at any online reviews you can find.
Sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and Google are great places to search for online reviews. If you notice any negative reviews, look to see if the autobody shop made an attempt to remedy the situation. If they do respond, it’s a good indication they care about their reputation.
Check the Better Business Bureau
Another great site to look at is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This site is great for helping customers make an informed decision about a company.
You may find that despite great reviews, the Better Business Bureau has complaints that the repair shop doesn’t have the best business practices. Maybe individuals have filed complaints against the business before.
You can find out how many complaints (if any) there have been and how they were resolved. A repair shop with a high BBB rating means they can use it in their marketing and it means they care about providing great service to their customers.
Check for Certifications
No matter how great the reviews and recommendations are, always make sure your mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Obtaining an ASE certification means they’ve gone through years of on-the-job training and earned a two-year degree in automotive repair.
You’ll know you’re putting your trust in one of the top auto garages if they’re ASE certified.
Also, check to ensure that the shop itself is licensed. While not all states require licensing, you still want a shop that obtained one.
Make Sure the Autobody Shop Fits Your Criteria
Not all body shops are the same. And if you have a unique car, it becomes a little harder for you to find the right autobody shop for your needs.
Make sure you find a reliable shop that can also fix your car. Start by searching for the right type of repair shop.
Find the Right Bodyshop
There are three different types of autobody repair shops you can choose from:
A dealership is a good idea, especially if your car is still under warranty. The mechanics are also highly trained and are always up-to-date on the latest techniques in the industry.
They also know your brand very well.
Remember that a dealership will only offer original parts.
Independent garages are typically smaller and have a more personal relationship with their customers.
You can also get both original and remanufactured parts at an independent garage which can help you save money.
Some shops specialize in either the type of repair or the type of car.
This may mean they can do the work faster and/or are likely to provide other services that aren’t typically offered at other types of repair shops.
Has the Latest Equipment
Today’s cars are like advanced computers. That means you need to find a mechanic who has the latest diagnostic equipment and tools to fix newer models.
Is Well Organized
Always take a look at the shop before you make any decisions. An autobody repair shop that’s dirty or disorganized is not a good sign.
Start with a Small Job
Don’t wait until there’s a big problem. While you’re searching for a reliable mechanic, give then a test-run.
Ask them to perform something small such as a tire rotation or an oil change. If the experience went well, it’s a good indication they do good work, even if it’s more complex than an oil change.
Pay close attention to how you’re treated during the test-run. You should expect to find polite, helpful staff members who are willing and able to answer all your questions.
Do yourself a favor by either stopping by or calling them to ask a few questions before. How they answer will give you a good idea of what type of service and quality of work you can expect from them in the future.
Here are a few questions to ask:
- How long have they been in business?
- Are all technicians certified?
- How many years of experience do they have working on your type of car?
- Do they specialize?
- What types of parts do they use (new, remanufactured)?
- Do they guarantee their estimates?
- Do they offer rental cars or a shuttle if your car needs to be kept?
- Are the labor rates the same regardless of the type of work they’re doing?
Make sure you know what forms of payment they accept as well.
Research Estimates Online
The more you know and understand about your car, the better luck you’ll have finding a reliable mechanic. Before you get an estimate, do some research online to find out what is most likely wrong with your car and how much it should cost to fix the issue.
This way, you’ll have a ballpark estimate of what charges you’ll receive. Sites like RepairPal have an estimator tool you can use.
Once you do get a quote from a mechanic, always get it in writing and keep it with you until the work is completed to avoid an unexpectedly large bill.
Ask for a Timeline
Before you drop off your car for service, ask them for a timeline so you’ll know what time to pick up your car after repairs and/or maintenance is finished. That way, you can plan your schedule ahead of time and can arrange for alternate transportation.
However, keep in mind that sometimes things take longer than expected. A part may arrive late, which is frustrating. A good company will do everything to get your car ready as soon as possible.
Ask for a Warranty
There is no standard on the warranty on repairs. As a result, they can vary quite a bit.
Find out ahead of time what is and isn’t covered in your warranty. And get it in writing in case there are any issues.
Keep in mind warranties may be subject to limitations such as mileage and time.
Get a Second Opinion
Just like you should get a second opinion if you need serious surgery performed, when it comes to car repairs, getting a second opinion for big jobs is a good idea. Especially if something doesn’t feel right.
And you may be able to ask your insurance company for help in finding the best mechanic to handle your repairs.
If you get your health insurance through Medicare Wire, they can recommend a good doctor to get that second opinion. If your car needs big repairs, usually your car insurance company is involved. Your car insurance carrier is a great place to get a recommendation, especially if your original mechanic doesn’t work out.
Don’t Give in to Pressure Tactics
While it’s important to keep your car in top condition so you and other drivers are safe on the roads, that doesn’t mean you should give in to heavy-handed sales tactics.
It also doesn’t mean that if you do go to a mechanic and they give you a list of unexpected repairs that you need to immediately fix any or all of them. It’s okay to trust your gut and get a second opinion.
Staying informed means being able to make smarter decisions on how to manage your life. Whether that’s finding a reliable auto mechanic, getting insurance or what the latest cybersecurity tips are, we can help.
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