How to Choose Your Mechanic

Your car is your pride and joy, and periodically it's going to need a little loving care and attention. Like choosing a doctor to look after your own health, selecting the right mechanic will go a long way towards making sure that your car remains in top shape. Unfortunately, finding a good mechanic can be difficult. How can you choose one who performs quality repairs and uses quality parts while not overcharging you or performing unnecessary repairs? You can help yourself by taking the time to learn some things about what your car needs and how to make better choices when working with a mechanic. Here are some ideas to help with the process:

Understand Your Needs

The first step you should take towards finding a good mechanic is getting to know your own car. Knowing your car's make, model, and specifications can make it easier to find a mechanic that is right for the job. There are plenty of mechanics that specialize in a certain brand or a certain part, so knowing what your car needs will be a huge help. When you start looking for a mechanic, you'll be much more prepared to ask the right questions and give them the information they need about your car.
 

  • Joe encourages his customers to ask questions about his work, maintenance schedules and so on. No question about your car is a bad question - the more you know, the better prepared you'll be as a consumer.

 

 

Ask for Personal Recommendations

Start with people you know. A recommendation from a friend or family means they will personally vouch for the reputation of a mechanic and this should give you a good idea that they are trustworthy. Ask your friends questions about the quality of the work, how long it took to complete and how much it cost. If you know someone who has a similar vehicle then their mechanic should be more familiar with your own car. 

  • We get many customers through recommendations from satisfied customers. 


 

Check Online

Weren't able to find a suitable mechanic from personal recommendations? Then you may need to search online for one. The popular search engines will give you a list of 'mechanics near me', so that's a good place to start. With the growing popularity of writing reviews these days, you can easily find out what others are saying about the various shops in your local area. Websites such as Yelp provide you with a good general overview of all sorts of mechanics, but they may not show you all the available candidates, so we recommend starting with the search engines. Another source of information is car forums, but these are likely going to work best for specialty mechanics. Be wary of too many glowing reviews and too many highly negative ones. A single five-star or one-star review won’t give you a full picture. A good rule of thumb is to look at both positive and negative feedback. Bottom line - look for reviews that answer specific questions you might have like whether the person is easy to work with or honest in addition to whether they're good at fixing cars. 

  • You can find Joe by searching for 'Oak Grove mechanics' or 'Fairbanks Automotive' in Google!
     

 

Sometimes a Specialist is the Right Choice

Most vehicles sold in the US are from American, Japanese and increasingly Korean companies. Therefore most mechanics spend the bulk of their time working cars from these manufacturers. If you have an unusual Make/Model vehicle, for example a Saab, Volvo or a German vehicle, you might want to work with someone who specializes on those cars. A specialist will know more about common problems with these cars, be familiar with locating harder to find parts and may also have specialized tools required for repairs. Since they are repairing certain types of cars every day you will be more confident that they have the expertise for your repairs. Of course, the downside to this approach is that you will often pay more for a specialist mechanic.

 

  • Joe offers the best of both worlds - In addition to popular American, Japanese and Korean brands he has extensive experience with German and with classic/vintage vehicles.

Give Them a Call

Once you have a recommendation for a mechanic, give them a call. Ask as many questions as you need to and be honest about your car's conditions and needs. If you're happy, see if you can stop by so they can give your car a once-over. You can also test-drive your mechanic by having them do some type of minor repair or periodic maintenance. That will give you an idea about what it's like to work with them.

 

Don't Wait for an Emergency

Many people don't look for a mechanic until they're stuck in a tough situation. Once you're there, you may not have time to look around for a mechanic, so you'll end up going to whichever mechanic responds to you fastest. This isn't a great idea because you won't know if you can trust them with a real problem. Because of this, it's important that you visit a mechanic and develop a relationship with one before you run into an emergency situation. Take your car into the shop for smaller issues or maintenance so that you can get to know the mechanic and develop a relationship with them.

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