I think www.cartalk.com is by far the best solution to finding a good mechanic and figuring out what is wrong with the vehicle. I have been able to find good mechanics for my kids when they've been 3,000 miles from home. I used the "Find a Mechanic" link on their website and then called the shop and talked to the owner.
Especially if you're new to an area, you need to interview a mechanic just as you would a doctor. Common sense says, "Know your car and trust your gut".
I grew up "under the hood"; I've been a backyard mechanic all my life. I have also had several jobs in the auto industry. My grown kids still call Mom when they have something wrong with their cars.
By Anne from Glen Mills, PA
I found an excellent mechanic on the NPR radio auto mechanics, The Tappett Brothers site. They do not recommend anyone but provide a list for your area of the top mechanics according to the feedback they receive from satisfied customers. My mechanic is the best! Honest, fair price, and great work. He is Frank Lioes in Seattle, WA.
Source: NPR radio.
By Hit from Seattle, WA
The best time to locate and check out a repair shop is when you don't need one! Don't wait until you have a serious problem and are in a panic ... that can make you a prime candidate for making a costly mistake.
1. Ask friends for shops they have been satisfied with. Word of mouth is a very good source; good and bad.
2. Have an oil change and lube and see if you feel comfortable with the way the company operates.
3. Have your tires rotated if needed and see how you are treated. Again, do you feel comfortable with the way the company operates?
4. Building raport and being a regular customer will give you peace of mind that you should be treated fairly if you have a major trouble.
5. When you have a company you are satisfied with stick with it, don't keep bouncing around always trying to get a better deal, loyalty pays off.