At some point in every car owner's life, they need to take the car to a mechanic. Finding a reputable repair shop or service station can be difficult. Because most people do not actually know a whole lot about cars, mechanics have traditionally been able to get away with a high degree of dishonesty, something many people do not discover until it is too late. Fortunately, this is one area that technology has improved. Before the days of online reviews, you would have to ask friends and trust them to give you a good recommendation. If nobody could give you a good referral, you would have to hope for the best. Now, we can read about other people's experiences with mechanics online. But still, the old ways do have some merit. Ultimately, it is all about research. With just a little bit of effort, you can find a trustworthy mechanic without too much hassle.
Do Your Research
There are a few different ways to go about doing research to find a good car mechanic. You may choose to use only one of these methods, or use some combination, including doing all of them. Depending on the extent of the repairs you need or the potential cost, it may not be necessary to use every single one of these research techniques. However, it never hurts to be careful.
Ask Other People
If you have any friends who have a mechanic they use regularly and consider trustworthy, ask for a referral. Even if you are not sure whether anyone of your acquaintances knows a good mechanic, it never hurts to ask. Friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and even doctors and other professionals may have recommendations. And if they don't, they'll simply say so. Just be polite and specific, you never know what kind of good information you could end up getting.
If you get a referral for a mechanic, you may want to double check by searching for the mechanic's name or business name online. If you were not able to get a referral, starting with online reviews is a good way to go. There is a variety of different ways that people can let their anger be known online if a mechanic does not do a good job. Keep in mind that people are much more likely to leave a review online if they have had a bad experience. If a mechanic online has one online review, and it is negative, read the review carefully. Oftentimes, online reviewers will make it clear with their description of the problem that their negative reaction is unfair or overblown. Instead of just looking at an overall rating, make sure to read what people say.
Ask a Consumer Group
As a final step, you can enquire with a Provincial Consumer Affairs Office to see if the mechanic you're thinking of using has any formal complaints filed against him/her. These businesses can also be a good way of getting a referral. If you belong to the AA or some other motoring club, you may be able to use one of their certified service centres. Motoring clubs may also have information on the quality of a mechanic's service and business practices.
As you research, you may come across some conflicting reviews. For example, a friend may recommend a mechanic that has horrible reviews online. If this is the case, trust your instincts. If your friend is knowledgeable about cars and generally intelligent, you may want to trust his or her word over that of a stranger's online.
Talk to the Mechanic
It is important that you feel the mechanic you are talking to is being honest with you. Pay attention to the way the mechanic speaks to you and answers your questions. Sometimes people undeservedly develop a good reputation, or they may have figured out how to game the online review system and artificially inflate their overall rating. This is all to say that it makes sense to be sceptical when meeting with a mechanic, even one that has a good reputation. However, don't take this scepticism too far, especially if you have no evidence that you're being dealt with dishonestly.
Things to Remember about Finding a Mechanic
Ultimately, it's important that you find someone who can fix your car for a fair price and be honest about what they are doing and why. You do not have to be best friends with your mechanic, but you should feel that he or she is honest and trustworthy. Ask your friends, family, colleagues and community if they know of a reliable mechanic. A local Provincial Consumer Affairs Office should also be able to help. Double check any recommendations on the Internet, seeing what crowdsourced review sites have to say. When it comes to finding a mechanic, knowledge is power. Do as much research as you can. Even if you are in a hurry to get your car fixed, be thorough. It is better to take a long time for what is ultimately a good repair rather than rushing into something with a bad mechanic.