Being a woman with an older automobile, I feel like I'm taken advantage of when it comes to car repairs. Does any one have any strategies for finding an honest mechanic?
Louise from Santa Clara, CA
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One way for sure to get an honest mechanic is to ask around in your church who is a mechanic or who can offer suggestions. Hopefully this will be someone that loves god and enjoys working on cars and will not cheat you. Also is some phone books you can see christian logos (a cross or something) in the yellow pages. Hope this helps.
Karen - Elizabethton, TN
Regarding the question about finding a good mechanic, I have three tips. First, go to a place with a trusted name such as Sears. Next, take a man with you. He doesn't have to do the talking, but it seems to help. Or if this doesn't work out for you, ask a man who he takes his car to and then when you get to the repair shop, mention his name as who referred you. Good luck!
Amy - Garland, TX
1. Ask trusted friends and relatives for recommendations is your best source. Let the shop know you were referred by (name the person).
2. Act like you are knowledgeable on how your car operates when you go the shop. Don't be too talkative by revealing that you do not have a spouse and just don't know anything about cars! In my opinion, this can put you on the sucker list right away.
3. Go to the library and read up on your car to get an idea of how it functions; librarians will show you where the reference materials are. This may not seem like interesting reading material, but it can save you a bundle and well worth the effort.
4. You may want to check out a few shops by having something simple done, like an oil change or tires rotated. See how well the shop is run and build a relationship with the service manager/mechanic, so that when you have a serious problem you will feel more comfortable with them; you will be considered a regular customer too!
Hope this helps you.
Ms. Syd Barr - Dunkirk, MD
A reader wrote that you should go to a name you can trust like Sears. Sears is in the middle of a huge lawsuit concerning batteries and tires. DO NOT go to Sears. I could tell you my own horror stories about their auto department and an even worse one concerning appliance repair. I even faxed the CEO and did not get satisfaction.
In most cases, it comes down to the integrity of the people working at the particular shop and not necessarily the philosohy of the company as a whole. Some Sears are better than others which is why first hand advice from someone in your area is probably the most valuable. Large chains (like Sears) service can differ a great deal from store to store.
I would recommend you call your local Snap-On Tools dealer. This is what I did and he recommended two in my neighbourhood. They see these fellas every week and they know who is reliable and who isn't.
How about contacting your local high school auto repair teacher for minor repairs, oil changes, etc. The work is done in class with the teacher supervising and the cost is VERY low.
Call you local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses and ask whoever answers if they know of a JW who owns a shop or works on cars at their home. They're the most honest people I know.
Good Luck -
99% are crooks. Its their nature to exagerate problems and cheat people.
My Husband has been and auto mechanic for 35+ years. he has worked hard to maintain a good reputation in our small town. He has went to school to keep upto date on the newest things out on automobiles and trucks .He has a Master in ASE(Auto Service Excellence ) so don't call every mechanic a crook!! They are a few bad apples that spoil the Bushel! Look for a ASE certified mechanic Most have worked hard to obtain Certifed!!
My advice is this .. ask at a local auto parts store, these are the people that work on a day to day basis with mechinacs. I usually look for a mechanic that a few cars waiting to be worked on .. it means, to me at least, that they are trustworthy. I would call first and ask to talk with the mechanic (ours actually anwsers his own phone), you can tell alot from that first contact. .. I like having a mechanic that actually listens to me instead of cutting me off and assuming I don't know anything because I'm a woman. My dad was a mechanic and there are some smaller repairs that I feel comfortable making but somethings are just over my head and I feel good knowing that I've found someone I can trust and that my dad would like!
Good Luck to you!
I have a honest mechanic I go to usally but tried to save some money and ran into problems. You can read about it on my blob If interested:
the short of the story, don't go to dealerships for service. Support your local Independently Owned Car Repair Shop's.
I liked Dee's answer "Call your local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses" They are very trust worthy and honest.
These are all great suggestions, and in the Oregonian this morning I found a website for www.angieslist.com it is a compilation of all consumer-rated businesses, kind of like a referral service. I haven't visited it yet, but you could check it out to see if your area has something similar. My DH is a weekend mechanic, and has worked in dealerships as a Service Manager so he knows what is legit and what isn't...especially with hours! and always worked and rebuilt different types. He gets a lot of referrals from friends. One big thing is that he only requires people to buy factory authorized rather than "generic" parts because the warranty is a lot better, especially since he is not a licensed mechanic. Usually your small town guy is the best, because his rep is on the line more than a dealership guy who is getting overloaded you don't usually deal with face to face. I hope that helps ;)
There is a new website http://www.Honestrepairshop.com where people rate the honesty of their mechanic. It's a new site so there may not a lot of reviews yet but you can rate an Honest Mechanic or tell others about a shop that ripped you off
Ask a few guys who use pickup trucks and vans in manual trades, such as masons, plumbers, or carpenters, what mechanics they take their trucks to.
The BBB often finds out less than scrupulous dealers in an area by recording consumer complaints. Check them in advance if you can.
I grew up "under the hood" always helping my Dad with the cars. Employed @ a gas station, body shop, auto parts store and the best advise I can give is to try cartalk.com...my mechanic friends listen to their radio show "Click & Clack"...they helped me find an honest and reputable mechanic for my daughter who is stationed in San Diego. I was not happy with the "treatment" she was getting @ the dealers. Your life and safety of your car depends on the integrity of your mechanic, if you feel you're getting a snow job...move on and find another.
My dad was a mechanic for 30+ years and my husband works in a big name shop. Here is my advice:
1. Do not go to a big name shop. They are all under pressure to make commission and thus try to sell work that in the best case, could wait.
2. Do not go to a shop that you hear advertised. A good mechanic has more work than he can handle just from word of mouth.
3. Ask the parts guys! They deal with all the mechanics in the area and know how the businesses are run.
4. Look for a shop with all of it's bays filled and a few more waiting in the lot. It's a sign that they get a lot of work.
5. If you can, scope out what kind of car the mechanic drives. You want it to be a beater. A good honest mechanic is not getting rich and will drive a car for as long as possible.
6. (this one also sounds counter-intuitive). Don't go to the cleanest nicest looking shop! There are couple of reasons for this. First, is the same as above: an honest mechanic isn't getting rich. Cosmetic repairs to the shop can wait. Second, an honest mechanic gets more work than he can handle. He will keep business costs down by having as few employees as possible. Because of this, the shop is likely to look dirty and cluttered. Third, he's got enough business! He doesn't need to impress people by keeping things spiffy.
7. Look for things in the shop that don't seem to belong in a garage. A lot of honest mechanics will barter with regular customers for work.
If you follow all of these suggestions, you will get a good one every time!
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