Dealing with auto repair issues can be both challenging and time-consuming. The key consideration is how to find the right mechanic to get the job done right and efficiently so you continue to have a safe driving experience. No matter if you require body work after an accident or a routine check (i.e. oil change), having your car serviced regularly by a trustworthy professional is important. Below are some tips that we believe will help you narrow down your options and finally find the best mechanic in or near your area that best suits your needs and conveniences.
Why Have Your Car Serviced Regularly
For many vehicle owners, car maintenance does not go beyond an occasional engine oil change or filling up the fuel tank. The truth is that you need more than that to ensure maximum car performance, prevent costly repairs, and, of course, feel certain that your vehicle will keep you safe on the road. More often than not, drivers consider checking their car before each drive or, even worse, before hitting the road for a long trip a waste of time. We have seen small defects that have gone unnoticed turn into major problems that cost a pretty penny; an unnecessary cost that could have easily been prevented if drivers had their car serviced regularly.
Summing up the main benefits of having your car checked often:
The condition of the car is directly related to the safety it provides the driver and passengers – Servicing the vehicle regularly will make sure that vital checks to critical components of the vehicle (i.e. suspension and braking system) are carried out so that they will work seamlessly and efficiently when you need them the most. Having your car in road-worthy condition increases not only your own safety but also the safety of everybody else on the road.
A properly serviced car saves you money – Making sure you do not skip your annual car service will help identify possible issues that could cause serious trouble andl be expensive to solve, early.
Regular checks improve the vehicle’s performance – Having your car properly maintained will not only boost its performance but also give you peace of mind that your car will run better on the road; hence, be more fuel-efficient.
Frequent services extend your vehicle’s lifespan – It is much more preferred to prevent rather something than repair it. That is the idea of car maintenance. So, checking brakes, tyre pressure, lights, fluid levels, and battery on a regular basis will give you added safety and also help prolong the lifespan of your car. Mechanical issues that occur frequently, alongside with poor maintenance, reduce the longevity of your car.
Although not a legal requirement, servicing your vehicle regularly is paramount to help increase the performance, safety, and value of your vehicle.
Note: It is always best to act before car trouble strikes. As with many things, time can be of the essence so do seek professional help if you face an issue with your car, no matter how small it may seem.
Certifications/Warranties/Affiliations to Look For When Searching for a Car Mechanic to Trust
1. Confirm the shop you have found is ASE certified
The ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) programme was established in the 70s to maintain a high level of skill as a means to protect customers from mechanics that are not qualified. To apply for ASE certification, mechanics need to have a 2-year degree in automotive repair and one year of working experience or two years of working experience. Once they verify either one, ASE applicants are called to pass a written test, put together by a board of seasoned automotive professionals. Therefore, if the shop you have found employs mechanics that have achieved ASE certification, it is a sign that you are probably in good hands.
2. Check whether the mechanic has a manufacturer’s certification
Another certification a mechanic can achieve is the manufacturer’s certification, which reveals that they specialize in specific car brands. It is a certificate that adds to their skill and knowledge level. To obtain it, a mechanic needs to complete a test that will showcase excellent skills for fixing vehicles made by a particular auto manufacturer. Having your car serviced by a mechanic with manufacturer’s certifications, which means they know the ins and outs of the model and make of your car, is pretty much like when you see an ophthalmologist when you have a problem with your eyes, rather than a general physician.
3. What About Warranties?
For many things in life, you have the try before you buy option. This is not one of those cases, though. Nevertheless, asking whether the shop you are considering to take your vehicle in for an auto service has a warranty programme for services or parts will save you lots of money and time. This is quite handy if, say, a part was no good or something went wrong during the installation of a part. You do not want to wait days and even months to bring your car back to make things right (charge-free), do you? So, make sure you ask about warranties.
4. Check out if they are AAA Affiliated
The AAA network has been created to help customers with all kinds of car advice and roadside assistance. It is a trustworthy organization that only lists reliable and dependable auto shops. When you are looking for a mechanic, having trusted affiliations makes things easier for you as you can be certain that the particular auto shop is also ASE certified (most of the times, it also holds manufacturer certifications too).
Finding the Right Mechanic for your Auto Services and Repairs
The 21 century vehicles are equipped with the latest technological systems, which are computerized. This means that they conduct regular vehicle diagnoses and report mechanical details, as well as information about the condition of the vehicle and its interior. On the basis of this diagnoses, the systems also advice what measures should be taken by the driver in order to correct flaws in the engine or otherwise. Moreover, newer vehicles require reduced mechanic support and thus system support is also detailed in manuals and can also be accessed online or on CD’s.
However, if you still require auto repair in spite of all this support system, here is what you should keep in mind:
1. Ask Around
The first place people look for a mechanic is near their area so they can easily and quickly get their vehicle checked and repaired if something comes up. Ask for referrals from family and friends that may have had experience using an auto shop nearby and see how satisfied they are with the services they had received.
However, do not narrow your search only within a 10-mile radius from your home. If you have word-of-mouth referral from a person you trust about a mechanic located a bit far away, do not cross them off your list. If it was a health issue, chances are you would go to the best doctor to heal you, even if you had to drive to another state. This is your road safety we are talking about.
Note: You may also check online reviews (i.e. Angie’s List) for unbiased consumers that share their experiences about auto repair shops.
2. Act Proactively
If your car happens to require an emergency fix, you will probably rush to the first shop you will find available to get the problem addressed by whoever works at that shop. You have a 50-50 chance of getting it all messed up and spend a lot more money than really necessary. This is because when in the middle of a crisis our judgement tends to be a bit clouded as we need to fix a problem pronto, especially when in a hurry and need the car back straight away. Making hasty decisions could cost you money so try to shop around before an emergency to ensure you will get top-notch services when you need them the most.
Note: Make sure you also get estimates when your vehicle needs major repairs and you do not have a regular vehicle repair facility that you use. Ask for written estimates BEFORE the shop starts working on your vehicle. That way, you can rest assure they will not charge you for unnecessary parts and repairs, and that they are spot on regarding their diagnosis.
3. Compare Prices
When you shop around for quotes, you will find out that prices vary significantly from one shop to another. After you have gone through unbiased reviews about the mechanics you would like to do business with, call them, and ask about coupons. However, do not choose based solely on the price. The cheapest option is not always the best. Nor is the most expensive, though. Yes, you need an affordable rate but you also need the best possible services too so do your own research and compare the price-quality ratio, before you decide.
Note: You may want to look for mechanics that provide auto services as part of their part time hobby or even, sometimes, in their garages. Such mechanics do not require charging overheads, like many big businesses may; they will only charge you for the service provided. But they may give you the same service in as little as $100, which, if you went to a dealer auto shop, would cost you no less than $500. This may sound very tempting to a vehicle owner requiring, but do remember that at times short-term little saving may cost you huge expenditures in the long run.
4. Trust your Gut Feeling
Feel free to ask as many questions as you feel necessary to have peace of mind before handing over your car keys. Ask about the auto shop’s customer service, experience, credentials, and warranty policies. Do they supply a customer guarantee alongside with extended warranties on parts? What certifications do their employees hold (i.e. ASE certificate – see above). How many years are they in the business? And so on and so forth. If you find the replies you receive satisfactory to the point you feel at ease with the thought of trusting them with your car, then you are probably right. And, if you hear terms you are not familiar with, simply ask for clarifications so that you understand completely what you are being told.
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