Choosing the right mechanic is a difficult task. It takes a lot of trust and research to find a good one. What happens if you give them your car, and it comes out looking worse than it did going in? Or how do you know they aren’t ripping you off just because you are a lady? All significant concerns to have when putting your vehicle in the hands of someone you don’t know. However, car maintenance is inevitable. No matter how well you take care of your vehicle, there will always come a time when you need some fine tuning. But how do we trust a mechanic? By following my steps of course! The information below will include what to look for in a mechanic, what to look for when approaching a shop, questions to ask the manager and employees, and what to expect out of a proper mechanic.
How To Find A Good Mechanic
& What To Look For
The first thing you can do when choosing a mechanic is heading straight to Google. Search the web for mechanics near your and read reviews, like ones from AngiesList. Usually, when people offer to write a review, they mean what they say. Pay close attention to the negative ones, though. Stay away from shops with reviews stating bad service, damaged cars, or engine failure.
Take A Look At The Lot
You can figure out what type of mechanics shop you are pulling up to just by noticing the kind of cars they have in the parking lot. Take note of different features. Do they all look like beat up lemons, or are you finding some nicer cars in the lot? Do they have a lot of trucks, SUV’s, and minivans, or does it seem brand specific. Take a second to walk around a notice the condition of the cars. Do they look fine polished and well taken care of? Or do they have scratches and dings? These are important ideas to keep in mind. Why would you trust your car to someone who doesn’t take care of others?
Notice The Light Features
Before you even enter the building, notice the light features and surroundings. Make sure the light bulbs are working. If they don’t take the time to make sure the lights are working, then why would you assume they would take the time to seal your oil cap? Also, notice the landscaping and areas around the building. If you see a bunch of trash or dead plants, odds are your car will come out looking the same way.
How Busy Is The Store
So, you are finished assessing the outside building and feel confident in what you are approaching. Your first step thru the door, you notice how busy it is. You do not want to be the only one in there; on the other hand, you don’t want a line of people waiting. Being the only one in the shop, and noticing the employees eager to help you, probably means their business isn’t doing great. Standing behind ten people waiting to see a mechanic means they are understaffed. You want a few customers in the shop either waiting for service, or being waited on, and one or two mechanics ready to help. Find that happy medium.
How Is The Customer Service
Next up, customer service. Something you might have done research on earlier but can finally attest for yourself. What is the work environment like? How do the employees approach you? You want to walk into a shop and be addressed by someone, immediately. Whether it is a “Hello and welcome to” or an “I will be right with you”, never wait for an employee to approach you. If you have to wait for acknowledgment, this proves they don’t care. If they take forever to acknowledge you, then they will take forever to work on your car. Don’t wait. There are many other shops eager to help.
Notice The Attire Of The Employees
While you are deciphering the customer service, look at the attire of the employees. Do they dress professionally, or in a drab? The attire can mean a lot. If everyone there has baggy clothes with dirt all over them, then your car will probably come back with scratches or oil marks. Make sure the employees are clean and properly dressed.
How Long Have They Been In Business
Ok, so you have taken notice of all the above items, and this shop seems to pass the test…so far. Next come the questions. First up, ask them how long they have been in business. You want a relationship building company. Not a company that will help you once and go bankrupt the next day. Whether they have been in business for ten years or five months, make sure they seem eager to succeed and have a solid record.
How Many Mechanics On-Site
You need to know how many mechanics are working. Make sure they have enough mechanics to keep things flowing. You also need to ask about Master Mechanics. These are the people in charge, who know a lot about the industry, and have worked with cars for a while (hence the word master). You will want at least two master mechanics in a medium sized store, and 3-4 in a larger store. If there aren’t enough master mechanics, then work won’t get done properly.
Ask What Type Of Cars They’ve Worked On
Be curious and talk about past experiences. What kind of cars have they previously worked on, or what did they do before this job? These questions will help you to assess whether your vehicle is in good hands. Work with a mechanic who has had previous work experience with your car model type. They also need to be certified. Some shops certify their mechanics based on the brand of cars they have worked on, so make sure to ask for their certification. A popular certification is from the ASE (National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence).
See What Kind Of Car Your Mechanic Drives
Get to know your mechanic. Knowing your mechanic could be the difference between your car coming back in one piece or five. Ask them what car they drive, or have driven. For example, have they driven BMW’s, Mercedes, Fiats, or Chrysler. Or have they had junk cars their whole life? A mechanic who drives a lemon will treat your car like a lemon. And those five pieces might come out looking like ten…
Tour The Shop
The final step. You have tested the waters. Asked a couple of questions, and are now ready for the last step. Take a tour of the shop. Ask the mechanic if you can look around. Notice the lobby area, parts shop, where they wash the cars (if that is a feature), where they work on the cars, where they change oil or drain fluid, and what the offices look like. It needs to have a nice appearance. If the shop looks sloppy, then they work like slobs. I understand being a mechanic is a dirty job, but you still want a clean and professional shop. Formula One mechanics never have an ounce of oil on them, and they work on race cars in under 10 seconds during a pit stop. Your mechanic is changing oil in a much longer time frame. So no dirty areas!
If everything looks great, the employees are in good spirits, the managers are kind, and the store seems professional, I would say you have found yourself a mechanic. But don’t worry if they didn’t pass all of these steps. Mechanics are everywhere. Just do some more research and you will find your trusted technician eventually.