Monday, January 07, 2013

How To Find A Good Mechanic Review

I recently read an article from my regional auto association BCAA (British Columbia Auto Association) and they covered the topic on how to find a good mechanic. After reading it I had to agree with all the tips they had pointed out. I'll go through them here and you can comment at the bottom of this post if you have any thing to add.

Let's face it finding a good mechanic is a challenge and honesty would be on the top of my list. Here are 6 tips from BCAA.

1.) Get feedback,  ask around. It doesn't hurt and doesn't take a lot of time. Friends, relatives, and co-workers are a good source of recommendations. See which shops and technicians they’ve had good experiences with. Word of mouth is extremely valuable and talking to someone who has had a positive experience at a repair shop or have a regular shop they frequent because of a great relationship is one of the best ways to find a good mechanic/shop.

2.)  Check credentials and reputation. Ask the shop if the technicians working on your vehicle hold a certificate of Trades Qualification or equivalent credentials. Also, research the shop’s record and rating with the Better Business Bureau. Having Mechanics with their Provincial tickets (Canada) is essential. You don't want unqualified people getting their first hand experience on your vehicle especially if you're paying a shop rate!

3.)  Ask questions. This is a trust issue. If a shop mechanic takes the time to fill you in on details that's a very good sign they aren't hiding anything. Don’t hesitate to tell the service advisor that you’re not sure what something means, or ask them to explain it further. Also ask the service advisor to physically show you the problem on your vehicle. This will give you a better understanding of the issue. Any mechanical repair shop that does not want to show you the old parts off your vehicle is scamming you.

4.) This is a huge point...Get estimates in writing. Verbal estimates can be disputed or forgotten. Always get a written estimate prior to approving work on your vehicle and insist on a call if repair costs exceed the estimate. Most estimates allow up to a 10 per cent overrun. Request a call if costs exceed this allowance. This makes sense and most shops will advise you if there is a cost over run.

5.) Cover yourself down the road and make the repair shop accountable if they replace or repair anything. Ask for replaced parts. When dropping your vehicle off for service, tell the shop you want to see any replaced parts. In some cases, you are entitled to keep these parts, unless the facility must return them under a warranty or exchange program. Replaced parts and a well-documented repair order can be useful if there is a problem later. "get it on paper" there is no way any shop or mechanic can BS their way out of a dispute if you have the their black ink on your white paper invoice.

6.)CYA "cover your a--" Get a detailed copy of the repair order. Make sure it specifies the costs of labour and each part. Ask for the facility’s warranty in writing if it’s not printed on the bill. BCAA approved facilities offer a 12-month/20,000 km warranty on new parts and labour. More reason to join an automobile club. I used mine to fish keys out of my car and that alone paid for the one year membership fee.

Here's a handy video with more detailed tips on locating a reputable repair shop and trustworthy mechanic.

Check this link to a site called Rank My Mechanic where you can search ratings from other people on mechanics from all over. I haven't used it but it looks like it would work well if it applied to your area.

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