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Tips For Making Your Mechanic Your Best Friend

Dealing with a breakdown or major repair can cause a lot of stress and trying to find the best mechanic to work on your vehicle can often increase that stress. Accidents and breakdowns are not the only reason to visit your mechanic, finding someone that you trust to handle routine maintenance is important if you plan on driving your vehicle for a long time… and more and more of us are doing just that.

According to R.L. Polk a market research firm based in Southfield MI, the average age of cars and trucks on the road today has reached 10.8 years which is an all time high. As consumers hang onto their rides longer, the need for repairs and maintenance is skyrocketing. Finding and dealing with a mechanic can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Hopefully these tips will make your next visit to the mechanic go smoothly:

Finding the Right Mechanic – Finding the right technician is half the battle, look for shops that adhere to certain service standards. In order for a shop to be AAA approved all of the mechanics must be ASE certified and they cannot have had any complaints filed against them. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to make sure any shop you are considering has a clean record. Soliciting recommendations from friends, family and even your social network can often result in a great match.

Be Specific – When working with an automotive technician, the more specific you can be the better. Writing down specific problems you have been experiencing, detailing sounds, sensations, smells and leaks will make their job easier. If possible keep a journal of when these symptoms occurred and how often they are happening. If you have detailed service records you should bring them along and if you don’t have service records, start keeping them.  Being specific will help your mechanic diagnose your vehicle faster and more accurately.

Be Realistic – Car repairs and even routine maintenance takes time and quality work is not cheap. Be prepared to leave your vehicle for the day if you are getting anything other than a routine oil change done. Ask your technician for both a cost and time estimate before giving them permission to proceed. Many dealerships and repair shops offer shuttle services but it pays to arrange a ride before dropping off your car. Keep in mind that going with the lowest estimate is not always the best deal, paying a bit more to work with a technician you trust is always a good investment.

Stay in Touch – If the technician is unable to get ahold of you with a quote or update on your vehicle, the repair could end up taking longer. Be sure to leave a number where you can be reached easily and will be able to respond to questions or quotes quickly.

Paperwork and Credit Cards – When you pick up the car be sure that the paperwork details exactly what was done to the vehicle and any parts that were replaced. Ask for itemized pricing if the bill is not itemized. The bill should reflect what each part cost and the number of labor hours involved. If possible pay with a credit card as this gives you some recourse if problems arise later. Be sure to add these records to your files.

Finding the right mechanic can take some time but in the end it will pay off with great service and a car that runs well for years.