At some point it happens to all of us. Your most valuable and needed asset, your car, needs a car repair job. If you don’t have a go to car repair guy on speed dial you may go into a panic. How do you start? Where do you find a trusted mechanic when you’re not in a position to shop around? A good place to start is by getting referrals from friends or family members who have a car similar to yours.
With so many makes and models of cars on the market today, it can be hard to find a mechanic that knows American cars as well as foreign made models so it helps to get a referral to a mechanic who you know works on your type of car. Even if you’re in a time crunch don’t skimp on doing some basic checking. Call the Better Business Bureau or check their web site online and make sure the mechanic shop your interested in, doesn’t have a laundry list of complaints against them.
Ask if the car repair shop is accredited. This association can often offer member a discount at certain hotels, or auto repair shops. If you’re a member, it never hurts to ask if the shop gives discounts for your membership. And of course you want to make sure your mechanic is as skilled and up to date on their training as possible so ask if the mechanic is certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
Before you have any car repair work done ask what their warranty policy is. You should have a warranty on parts as well as a separate warranty on workmanship. A six month warranty is unbeatable, a 90 day warranty is great and a 30 day warranty on workmanship is suspect. Make sure any warranty on parts and workmanship comes in writing so you can bring it back if you have a problem, with no questions asked.
And get any estimates in writing and make sure your mechanic understands if you want to be called if the work will go over that estimated price. If you’re on a really tight budget with very little room for wiggle, you need to be upfront with the mechanic and let them know you can’t go above the estimate. Finally check the shops hours and make sure you can get your car back when it’s ready for pick up. If you’re at work until five o’clock and they close at five, you may be hard pressed to get to your car in time. You should also ask if you can get a loaner while they have your car and check your insurance policy to see if a loaner is covered for car repair.