Finding a good auto mechanic can help keep your vehicle running for years, limit maintenance costs, and ease the stresses of repairs caused in an accident. A good mechanic can also come in useful when buying a used car. But you don’t want to wait until you need a mechanic before you start looking. Like any industry, there are mechanics you’ll want to avoid, and there are those who love their job and sleep well knowing they’ve helped someone. How do you find a good mechanic in your area?
Ask for a Good Mechanic
First, ask around. In this day and age of social media, a quick question out to friends should get you at least a handful of recommendations. If you’re not on social media, ask at work, within your family, and at your next social gathering. Those who have good mechanics will happily refer you to them.
(Quick tip: Note who gave you the recommendation. When you contact the mechanic, let them know how you heard about them. Most mechanics run a small business and spend little time on marketing. You’ll help them understand where they’re getting their business from by telling them.)
Read Online Reviews, But with a Grain of Salt
Unlike global enterprises, mechanics are not likely to have a lot of reviews online. There are many reasons for this, so don’t immediately interpret it as something negative. If the garage you want to contact has negative reviews but was a recommendation from a friend, talk to your friend again and ask. They might have some insights.
Look for Memberships
Memberships are not a guarantee you’ve found a good mechanic, but they’re another clue to help you choose one. Most organizations require that members meet certain criteria to retain their membership. If a member no longer meets these requirements, they can be expelled from the organization.
CAA, for example, runs an approval program for auto repair shops. Garages that meet CAA’s requirements can display a sign saying they’ve been approved by the CAA. You can also search for mechanics on the CAA’s website.
Another well-known certification body is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Founded in 1972, the ASE is a nonprofit based in the U.S. that also certifies auto technicians in Canada. According to its website, almost 300,000 auto mechanics in Canada and the U.S. hold certification through this organization, which promotes excellence in vehicle repair, service and parts distribution.
You may wish to investigate memberships with your local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce, though these organizations aren’t automotive-focused.
Know Your Consumer Rights
Consumer Protection Ontario has a website dedicated to auto repair shops. Read this page and ask your potential mechanic a few questions from it. If they give you answers that the CPO says are illegal, walk away.
- The written quote and final invoice from your mechanic must include 11 specific items.
- Sometimes written estimates are not required.
- Why you should never sign a blank word order.
- When you can legally be charged for estimates.
In addition, you have a warranty on your repairs. They last 90 days or 5,000 km, whichever comes first. Although garages might offer an extension of this period, this is the minimum they must offer and that you are entitled to.
KA Good Auto Mechanic is Personal
You rely on your car to get you from point A to B safely every time you sit inside it and turn on the engine. Take time before you need a mechanic to find one. You’ll be happy you did when your car needs some loving care and you need some peace of mind.