Choosing a mechanic is almost always stressful. Even if you know quite a bit about cars yourself, it’s still daunting to find a mechanic who you can trust. When something goes wrong in your car, you want to be able to go to someone who knows you and your car, and who won’t overcharge or convince you to get services you don’t need. When you are trying to choose a new mechanic, there’s a few things you can do to mitigate your risk and hopefully find a trustworthy mechanic that you can use for years to come.
- Read reviews
The biggest tip for picking out a trustworthy mechanic is to read all the reviews you can get your hands on. Reviews are the best anonymous source for getting true opinions on products and services. Because they’re anonymous, most reviewers feel no reservations about posting how they really feel, giving you a truthful window into the business. Try an online site such as Your Views to start out with when searching for any mechanic reviews in Christchurch.
Keep in mind though, that almost all products and services will have bad reviews. The best way to approach reviews is to skim through as many as you can, and try to find any patterns. If you consistently read that the mechanic overcharged for brake services, than you can probably believe that about the mechanic. Reviews that are specific and state exactly what went well or wrong with the service are probably more trustworthy than vague statements like, “the service was bad”. Try and also go for mechanics that have plenty of reviews, versus those with few or none.
- Get recommendations from family and friends
An easy and efficient way to find a mechanic is by simply asking your family and friends. At some point, it’s most likely that every adult friend and family member has had to use a car mechanic, or has at least heard about one in their neighborhood. Use this collected knowledge and ask around. To gather an even larger recommendation base, try posting your request on a social media site, such as Facebook. Even if they are mostly negative recommendations, at least you’ll have a list of mechanics not to go to!
Another positive about family and friend recommendations is that if you decide to use their mechanic, you will have an established relationship with the mechanic right away. If your family member or friend has been using a certain mechanic for a while, they’ve developed trust that you can jump in on right away, versus having to build that trust yourself.
- Test with a small service
If your car is in need of major work, it can be daunting to bring it to a mechanic you don’t know yet. If you’re able to, bring it in for a small service first to gauge how it goes. You can learn a lot about a mechanic through something like a simple oil change or tyre rotation. Pay attention to their customer service, how long it takes, and the price. If all three were good, you might consider using this mechanic for your larger services. You also will have already established some rapport and trust between yourself and the mechanic, as well as some history with your car, which will be helpful in the future.
- Check for certification and specialty in your car type
Taking your car to a regular mechanic will get the job done, but you may get better service if you go to a mechanic who is trained and specializes in the make and model of your car. Most car mechanics can easily consult a manual to learn how your car works, but a specialist will know the subtleties and intricacies of your car better than a regular mechanic, and can possibly diagnose issues better than anyone else.
Shop and mechanic certifications are not necessarily required, but can show that the shop takes themselves seriously. Do some research on what types of certifications a mechanic or shop has, especially if they are specific to your type of car.
- Know a bit about your car
Some of the biggest complaints about mechanics is that customers feel like because they don’t know anything about their car, their mechanic could be swindling them and they won’t know the difference. The best way to avoid this is to know at least a little basic knowledge about your car.
With countless articles and youtube videos on the internet, you have a wealth of information about your car at your fingertips. By knowing at least the basics about your car, you can feel more confident when you bring your car into a mechanic. Try reading something like this article as a brief introduction. If you are ready for some more in depth education, consider looking at a website like this one and trying some small repairs or maintenance on your own. You might be surprised at how simple an oil change can be with the right help.
You can even ask your mechanic to show you around your car and point out what they are doing when you take it in. If you’ve found a good mechanic, they should be willing to give you a bit of a car anatomy lesson so you better understand what they will be repairing or servicing. If you’re lucky, they may even let you watch some of the repair or maintenance and teach you a bit throughout.
Finding a mechanic you can trust can seem overwhelming when you are unprepared. But, with a little research online and with your family and friends, and by arming yourself with a bit of mechanic knowledge, you are well on your way to being able to find a competent and trustworthy mechanic. Be confident with the new knowledge that you have and get on your way to developing a great relationship with your new mechanic.