One of the biggest mistakes car owners make is what I call mechanic-hopping. We hop around from repair shop to repair shop, in hope of finding the best deal (meaning cheapest deal), fastest time they can complete the task or worse yet, the answer we want to hear about our car instead of the answer we actually need to hear. Mechanic-hopping causes us to make poor or impulsive decisions when repairing or maintaining our cars. If we want our car to reliable and predictable we need to ensure we track our car’s health, service and repair history.
Finding the right facility to care for your car is as vital as finding the right car for you. We spend hours looking for our perfect car, but we often settle to find the “perfect” repair shop in a matter of minutes. The goal is to find a lifelong repair shop you know has your back and which you can always depend on is important (from personal experience, I ended up keeping the same mechanic due to the fact that they were honest and reliable). What’s a better feeling than having no car worries?
Found a mechanic you like? Put them to the test and see if they have these key traits that make a great repair shop.
Concern for your car and you
The mechanics and technicians listens to your concerns and are able to clearly communicate their plan for diagnosing, repairing or servicing your vehicle without you having to worry. They should not make you feel intimidated or scared to ask questions. Talking over the phone is a great option, but try and speak to your mechanic or technician. You can get a better feel for them, their personality, their demeaner towards you.
Balance taking care of your car and saving you money
The mechanic should not try to upsell you on everything under the sun. They know car repairs and upkeep are expensive, and their main concern is to keep your car running well and prevent expensive repairs later on ( my car mechanic will always tell me a price but they are also happy for me to buy the part online and have it fitted). If they make you aware that something might need changing, for example they took their initiative to check the breaks while changing your oil and said you will need new pads by the end of summer. This is a bonus as they are not telling you they had to replace them but notifying you. They might even say Your tyre tread is looking low so save up some money because they will need to be replaced in the next three months. However if they pressure you for a sale, this isn’t the shop you want.
A good mechanic or repair shop is patient and thorough when diagnosing and repairing a car. Good mechanics know their limits and communicate it to you. They will recommend other automotive businesses that can help you if they are unable to assist further. Another key is to check their warranty policy as they vary among shops and ask ahead of time what kind of guarantees the mechanic offers on repair work. Most should offer at least 12 months guarantees on major parts.
Though not required to be a technician or own a repair shop, certifications are and should be important to you. Automotive certifications and training show your primary car technician takes pride in his or her own continuing education and development, which means he or she will take pride in you. A mechanic that displays their employers is a bonus as this means they take pride in who they employ as well are open to put their certificates on display. Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the main certification program for technicians. Make sure their ASE certs—there are eight tests total—are current as they expire every five years.
The most important skill a mechanic or technician can have is communication. Being able to clearly communicate with a customer about their car needs in a concise, respectful and friendly manner is key. If you find a place that demonstrates the above behaviour, you have found your lifelong auto repair facility!