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It takes a significant amount of commitment and investment to own a car. Your car is a major asset and like all machines, it requires regular maintenance. While there are some simple routines that you can perform by yourself such as changing a flat wheel or replacing some simple components when they wear out, some bigger chores will require a mechanic to handle. Ideally you should choose a good mechanic you can trust and with whom you can openly discuss your priorities and expectations.
The following is a list of 10 things you should consider when looking around for a good mechanic for your car:
1. What Is the Mechanic Shop's Reputation?
The first and perhaps the most important thing you need to know about a mechanic who is going to handle your car is his or her reputation. Ask around and get the opinion of family, friends, working mates if they have dealt with them before. They might not have dealt with the mechanic directly but might now somebody who has. If you cannot readily get information from somebody you know, try looking online and read their reviews from one or several review sites.
2. How clean is the Shop?
A cluttered and messy mechanic shop is often a sign that the mechanic is equally disorganised in their work. Generally, a mechanic shop cannot look spotless like your favourite restaurant. But it should, nevertheless, be reasonably clean and well-ordered. If the shop is serious about first impressions and wants their customers to come back, they will keep everything looking tidy.
3. What Is The Labour Rate?
Many people make the mistake of assuming that a mechanic shop that charges higher rates is more likely to do a better job as well. While this rings true in some cases, it does not always apply. If you do your homework well, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that some cheaper shops offers service of a comparative, or sometimes better, quality level than more expensive shops.
4. Does the Mechanic Listen to You?
Your mechanic should never perform extra services that cost you extra cash (however necessary) without seeking your approval first. If you are only looking for minor services, tell that to the mechanic so that they don't go overboard. If the mechanic says that more repairs are required but you are not convinced, seek a second opinion.
5. Does the Mechanic Explain Everything Clearly to You?
A good mechanic should take time to explain what's wrong with your car and what needs to be done to get it back into shape. A mechanic who values their work and takes pride in it will go further and explain to you what you need to do in future to avoid a repeat of the problem and to make sure your car gives you better service for longer.
6. What Is the Overall Work Quality?
Obviously, it's hard to figure this out before you have worked with the shop. Checking online reviews can, however, help you make up your mind a lot quicker. Some shops are great at handling Japanese-made cars such as Toyotas and Hondas while others are experts at dealing in American-made cars such as Chevrolets and Fords. Some shops might be great at certain tasks such as wheel balancing but not so good at tuning the engine. Do your homework and see which shop suits you best.
7. Do they Specialise in your Car Model?
Many mechanics specialise in certain car models or repairing specific components such as radiators, transmission, mufflers, and machining. In such cases, these mechanics might do part of the work and send your car to a different shop for further repairs. In case you have major repairs than need to be done, make sure you ask your mechanic where else your car will be taken.
8. How long do the Repairs Take?
How long the car will take at the mechanic's shop is a critical consideration for people like salespeople whose jobs involve lots of travelling. If you have to use a rental car while you wait for your car to get repaired, you might find that your rental bill grows big quickly if the mechanic takes too long to complete the job. Some chores can take quite long to complete and that's normal. In other cases, the mechanic might simply delay because they are swamped with too much work. While having a mechanic who has lots of customers is sometimes a good sign that they offer top-notch workmanship, you don't want to wait forever before getting your car back.
9. Does the Shop Have a Shuttle Service?
Many larger mechanic shops often provide shuttle services. While this is not a critical consideration, it can be extremely convenient if the shop is not located close to reliable public transport. This can save you money that you would otherwise spend on public means.
10. Does the Shop Offer any Guarantees?
This is an important consideration. You don't want to take your car back to the mechanic for the same problem a few days later. A good mechanic will stand by their work and guarantee you that in the rare event that your car suffers the same problem shortly after, they can do new repairs at no extra cost to you.
Finding a good and reliable mechanic that you can work with is important because you will likely be using them for many years to come. The right mechanic will not only extend the life of your vehicle and save you unnecessary costs, but will also make owning it a pleasure.
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