Much like finding a great insurance provider, linking up with a trusted, high-quality mechanic can transform your experience of driving and car ownership for the better. Sadly, for a lot of people, finding a good mechanic feels like a daunting task. While there’s no single step-by-step process to ensure you find the best garage, conducting effective research and having an open ear can take you far.
The Right Choice of Mechanic Depends on Your Needs
Are you looking for the highest-quality repairs? Fair prices? What about a convenient location or quick turnaround? Each prospective garage customer is going to value each of these things differently. However, it stands to reason that the vast majority are looking for a fair balance.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, consider the type of car you want serviced. As a general rule, upper-end and vintage models should be taken to a specialty garage, where they’ll be promised the highest level of expert care and repairs. Certain mechanics specialize in a particular make of care.
Chevrolet dealerships, for example, have affiliated specialty garages for their Corvette brand. You can expect to spend more with a specialist, but you’ll at least know that the car’s receiving the best treatment around.
For convenience, you may want to look into a mobile mechanic service. A mobile mechanic will come to you and can provide surprisingly comprehensive services. YourMechanic is one such mobile mechanic service with a high standard of quality and customer satisfaction.
On an added note, a customer’s experience with a garage is colored in large part by their personal dealings with the mechanic. Pleasant interactions between the professional and customer go a long way, and you’ll likely find that the rapport (or lack thereof) between you and a service professional will have a significant impact on whether you return to the garage.
Online Reviews, Forum Discussions, and Word-of-Mouth Are Your Friends
One of the many positive things about the Internet is the fact that it has made everyone’s opinion accessible. One customer’s bad experience can be a useful warning for others on review sites like Yelp. Likewise, it’s never been easier to cut through the false advertising and find out what people really think of a certain garage. Check out review sites for a list of garages in your area. Don’t let yourself be turned off by one scathing review, or otherwise be sold by a glowing one; you want to look for general trends.
It also doesn’t hurt to talk to the people in your life. If they’ve earned your respect, it should stand to reason that their opinion counts for something. If you’re friends with someone who really knows cars, they may be able to point you in the direction of a trusted local garage. Likewise, if you’re part of an automotive group or club, then networking may be invaluable in finding a mechanic that’s already been vetted by people you trust.
Your Insurance Provider May Already Have Affiliate Mechanics in Mind
Whether you have a mechanic in mind already or you’re still looking, your insurance company should be made aware of your choice before you commit to the repairs. You need to make sure that the insurance company will extend the policy to that garage; there may be various reasons why an insurer will deny a garage.
On the other hand, many insurance companies are already affiliated with certain garages they know and trust to do a good job without overcharging. If your insurance company has a recommendation, you should give it real consideration; it means the garage is high quality enough for the insurer to stake their own reputation on it.
You Can Find Out A Lot by Speaking to a Mechanic Directly
Gauging others’ opinions and doing your research beforehand should eliminate less promising options right off the bat. If you’re trying to choose from among the better options, it’s a good idea to approach each garage and talk business.
When you’re trying to evaluate a mechanic, it helps to ask questions. Asking about whether they deal in OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or aftermarket (third-party) parts is helpful if you’re trying to ascertain whether their estimated price is fair or not. If you want to test the waters, you may try out a mechanic with a small, quick repair. If you go about something minor, you can get a firsthand look at how the mechanic conducts business without paying a lot of money.