With hourly mechanic labor rates approaching $100 per hour, a dishonest mechanic can easily burn a hole in your wallet. Even worse, they might not even fix your problem entirely or recommend unnecessary repairs that can cost you thousands. Here are some tips to follow in order to find an honest reliable mechanic:
1. Ask your family or friends – Word of mouth can be a powerful search tool. Try posting on social media to recruit the help of your family or friends. Chances are that at least one of them has been in your situation recently and has found a decent mechanic. They can also provide you tips on where NOT to go incase they had a bad experience. Personal referrals are great because your family and friends have no incentive to cheat you in this case, they will usually only have your best interests in mind.
2. Do some research – Due diligence is important when searching for a mechanic. In today’s world, technology can propagate bad reviews to the public in a matter of minutes. Although it is true that someone is more likely to write a review if they’ve had a bad experience instead of a good one, you can still look for patterns in the reviews that will give you hints on what type of business the mechanic is running. Make sure to do a thorough google search looking at multiple sources before you draw a conclusion about a certain business.
3. Visit in person – The easiest way to tell if something is amiss is to go visit the shop in person and get a quote. If you’re a technically savvy individual, you usually have a pretty good idea of what’s wrong with your car and generally what needs to be fixed. Once you obtain an estimate from the mechanic on what needs to be fixed and what the cost is, you can do some research to see if he/she is charging a fair rate for the labour involved in the work. Most mechanics have standard labour rates for typical jobs and will not deviate from this (such as brake jobs or clutch replacements). Also, be weary of any upselling that might occur to issues that are unrelated to your car problem – There is a high chance that they may pitch you a service that is completely unrelated to the trouble you are experiencing in order to make some quick money off you.
4. Get a second opinion – This step is critical to ensure that you are getting the correct repair for your vehicle at a fair price. Don’t hesitate to get a diagnosis or a quote at two or three different shops to see what they say about your car issues. Not only will you have a better chance of correctly fixing your vehicle, but you can also price shop to see who can give you the best deal on parts and labor.
5. Don’t wait until the last minute – It is always a good idea to have a mechanics phone number ready just in case of an emergency. Waiting until the last minute might cause you to make an irrational decision where stress, emotions, and time constraints can negatively sway your judgement. In the event of a breakdown, tow truck drivers will often tell you that they “know a guy” and will push you to take your car there – NEVER trust a recommendation from a tow truck driver. They often get paid “referral bonuses” from shops to funnel in extra clients and they are counting on you being unknowledgable and desperate. Don’t believe me? Just try to google “tow truck driver scams” and read the stories for yourself!