How to Find a Good Car Repair Shop

This is a guide on finding a good car repair shop. Read this article to learn the steps to find an honest mechanic or repair shop, including how to check for certifications and business ratings.
Written by Elaine Sulpy
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
The best way to find a reliable, honest repair shop is to search for local shops and check their reviews, get referrals, look at their business ratings, and check their certifications.
Whether you need basic service or major repair work, owning a car means you will eventually have to find a reliable repair shop and a mechanic you trust.
You could just drop your car at any old repair shop that offers a deal or discount, or the first one you see driving down the road. But will your car be repaired and working correctly when you take it home? Can you trust that you will get what you pay for?
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How to find local repair shops

One of the top recommendations is to find a repair shop before you have car troubles in the first place. The last thing you want to do is add to your stress level should you have an accident or breakdown. Doing your homework before an incident happens can help.
Finding a repair shop near you is simple. Follow these tips below to find a local repair shop:
  • Use a dealer service center. While this may cost more than an independent auto repair shop, service centers typically specialize in specific makes. Check to see if they are factory-certified or part of an automaker certification program, as this means they must adhere to quality standards set forth by the automaker they represent. This is especially key if your car is still under any manufacturer warranty.
  • Do a web search. Using a search engine, search for repair shops in your city or ZIP code. This should bring up a number of options to look through.
  • Check the yellow pages. Yes, the Yellow Pages do still exist in most urban and even rural locations. Dust off your print copy on your end table or go online to look for options.
  • Ask around. Ask your coworkers, friends, and family members if they know of any local repair shops that offer
    efficient and trustworthy service
    . They may have just done all the legwork online and be able to save you some time and help out.

How to determine if the repair shop is reliable

Finding a repair shop nearby can be easy, especially if you live in a larger city or urban environment. Narrowing down local repair shops and determining which ones are actually reliable can be a little bit trickier.
Narrow down your list of local shops by following these recommendations below:
  • Get references. Utilize social media to ask for help from friends and family members you trust.
  • Check online reviews. Sometimes, you may not know anyone who can recommend a good company. That’s when websites such as Yelp and reviews on Google can help you see if the shop you want has satisfied customers or some major problems to fix.
  • Check their rating. The
    Better Business Bureau (BBB)
    is an organization that sets standards for performance and integrity, giving an "Accredited Business" status to companies that comply with their standards and grade/rate companies based on their compliance.
  • Certifications matter. Find out if their mechanics are
    Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
    certified. And, ask how many. You’d be better off going to a shop that has a few certified mechanics versus one where just the head mechanic or owner is certified.
  • Price is only part of the equation. Remember, the price of the repair work is only a part of the equation. If a repair shop provides added services, warranties, and customer service, they may be worth a slightly higher cost.
  • Call the shop and visit. A great way to find out if the shop can do what you need is to simply
    call and ask
    . Ask about their services and if they work on repairs on your specific vehicle. Take it a step further and stop by the shop and check out the quality of their tools and if the shop’s mechanics are working hard.
Keeping your car in top shape can be done with the help of a reliable repair shop. A
well-maintained vehicle
is less prone to breaking down or causing related crashes or incidents, which can keep your insurance premiums low. Find a reliable shop you can depend on to stay safely on the road.

Why a reliable repair shop is important

Using a quality, reliable repair shop is important in keeping your car safely on the road. Whether it’s for basic preventive maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations or for major repairs after an accident or major mechanical failure, you are not only putting your car in a repair shops hands, but you are putting your life and the life of others in their hands, too.
The last thing you want while driving down the street is for your car to break down due to shoddy repair work. Or to find out that you were ripped off when something wasn’t actually replaced or fixed.
Finding a reliable repair shop can give you peace of mind when you get behind your wheel again after visiting the shop.
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