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Tips on finding a good Mechanic.

Build a professional relationship with a good mechanic and you’ll have the peace of mind that your vehicle will be treated carefully and quickly if something ever goes wrong. Once you establish a history with a trusty mechanic, he will know the ins and outs your vehicle and be better equipped to help you maintain it.

 

There are several methods of seeking a good mechanic.

If you bought a new vehicle from a dealership, you can use a mechanic who is employed there. One benefit of using dealership mechanics is that they are extremely knowledgeable about the particular make of vehicles that the dealership sells. For instance, if you purchased a brand new Dodge Charger from a Dodge dealership, a mechanic employed by that same dealership will be up to date on current recalls, parts, and service warranties for Dodge vehicles.

 

Another way to locate a trustworthy mechanic is by word of mouth. Ask friends, family members, and co-workers for referrals. If someone has had a particularly bad experience at a local garage, you’ll know it! The most successful mechanics base their business on happy clients and excellent, timely work. Additionally, you can contact the Better Business Bureau for a listing of accredited garages in your area.

Below are several things to consider when searching for an auto mechanic:

  1. A dependable mechanic should be easy to contact. Their telephone number should be in the phone book or searchable on the internet. If no one answers, an employee should call you back within a couple of hours upon leaving a message expressing your desire to hire them. A good mechanic is easy to get in touch with and maintains communication while your vehicle is in their possession.
  2. Ask for a free estimate. Most garages or body shops will offer to look over any damage or problems and provide you with an estimated repair cost. You can expect to receive this estimate in writing. If you don’t, there is no way to dispute a much higher price when it’s time to pick up your vehicle.
  3. Use common sense when you visit a garage for the first time. Yes, it’s going to be a little dirty, somewhat cluttered, and might even lack an actual receptionist. However, a presentable and polite individual should greet you, ask you what you need help with, collect your contact information, and provide you with the above mentioned estimate.
  4. Expect to sign some type of service plan or contract. This document should contain your vehicle’s identifying information and an estimated completion date. Make sure that you obtain a copy of this agreement before leaving the garage.
  5. Pay for the mechanic’s services and collect your vehicle as soon as possible after you have been informed that the repair is completed.
  6. Expect to pay your balance in full before retrieving your car. While some mechanics may be willing to make payment arrangements, you will generally be required to pay your entire bill when you collect your fixed car. Most reputable mechanics accept several payment methods including credit cards.
  7. Be patient, but don’t allow a slow mechanic to keep your vehicle for months on end. Understand that parts must be order and some semblance of chronological order must be maintained. That being said, if your car has been in the shop for six weeks and you don’t feel like you are getting a truthful answer from garage employees, do not hesitate to take your car and your business elsewhere.

Independent Shop VS. Dealership

At some point, every car owner grapples with this decision: Should you take your car to a dealer or an independent mechanic for routine maintenance and repairs?

Both can meet your auto care needs and both have drawbacks.

What kind of shop is best for you, your car and your wallet? You decide. Here’s a closer look at the pros and the cons of dealer and independent repair shops.

Going independent, Independent garages are smaller and less expensive than dealer shops. And many get high marks for customer service.

“People are more satisfied with independent repair shops, And they tend to be less expensive than dealers.”

Independent repair shops rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and customer referrals for much of their business. So it’s no surprise that many independent garages place a high premium on customer service and satisfaction.

Because independent shops tend to be small, with maybe three to five technicians, you’ll get to know the owner and everyone that works there. You’ll be able to ask questions directly to the mechanic working on your car.

Because of lower prices, a small independent shop is a great place to go for basic maintenance and repairs not covered by a car’s warranty. Everything from oil changes on up will cost more if you take your car to the service department at a dealership.

“A lot of people think you have to go to a dealer for maintenance to keep your warranty and that’s absolutely not true,”

Worried that a smaller garage won’t know how to fix your car’s problem? Don’t be. Thanks to new software programs, today’s independent garages are privy to the same technical and repair information as dealers.

“In the past five years, independent shops have caught up to dealers in terms of information, “The independents these days have the same computer system, same records, same level of service as the dealer.”

A good independent garage may know just as much about a technical service bulletin on your car as a dealer does. Manufacturers publish technical service bulletins to assist technicians in diagnosing and repairing problems in cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The biggest downside to going to an independent repair shop is you give up the power of your new-car warranty. For a repair to be covered by a new car warranty it must be done at a dealership. If you get the repair done any place else, you’ll have to foot the bill yourself.

As good as the price and service may be at a small, independent garage, nothing beats getting a repair for free.

Keep in mind that service and pricing at independent repair shops vary widely. So be sure to shop around. You’ll also want to watch out for scams. For tips on avoiding auto repair scams, check out this Bankrate.com article.

Sticking with a dealer shop The biggest advantage of taking a car to a dealer shop is its tie to the auto manufacturer. If you have a beef with the service or a particular repair, you can always take it up with the auto manufacturer.

Plus, all dealer technicians receive factory-authorized instruction. So the techs at a dealership are likely to know their stuff.

As mentioned earlier, any repair covered by a new car warranty must be done at a dealer shop if you want it free.

One thing missing from a dealer shop is the personal touch. You hand your keys over to a service manager or service writer, not a technician or mechanic.

“At a dealership you rarely see the tech, So you don’t know who’s working on the car.”

Now you could ask to speak to the mechanic each time you bring your car into a dealer service department. Just be prepared to meet someone new with each visit.

A large dealership could have 20 or 30 technicians or more working at any given time. So a different technician could work on your car each time you bring it in.

The other downside to taking your car into a dealer shop is the price. You tend to pay more for basic maintenance and repairs at a dealer shop.

Once a new car warranty expires, there’s little tying you to a dealer shop.

You may want to compare dealer prices with a local independent garage. Tracking down a lower-priced and reliable independent garage could really trim your auto maintenance bills.

If your just-out-of-warranty car needs an unexpected repair, you’ll want to give a dealer shop a call. The reason?

You may be eligible for a secret warranty or goodwill policy. If there’s a widespread problem with the vehicle, the car company may make the repair for free or at a low cost.

It never hurts to ask. For more information, please contact us.