Leaving your car with a mechanic you’ve never been to before might not be quite as nerve-wracking as dropping your child off at daycare for the first time, but it still can be more than just a little unsettling. After all, you’ve heard plenty of horror stories about dishonest mechanics, so now you’re just hoping that those online reviews were true and that, of all the mechanic shops in Cleveland, you’ve picked the right one.
You have plenty of choices when it comes to auto repair in Cleveland, so how do you know which auto mechanic is right for you? One way, as just mentioned, is to read online reviews. But as you read them, you need to know what you’re looking for and what you should avoid. When you have a better idea of what you need, you have of better chance of finding the perfect fit.
Just as you wouldn’t go car shopping (or any other kind of shopping, for that matter) without doing your homework first, you don’t want to blindly select an auto mechanic. To start your search for the right mechanic, you’ll have to find out what’s available and then narrow down your options. Here are some great ways to start that process:
Ask family and friends. Referrals are often a great way to find your next auto mechanic. Did they feel the mechanic did a good job? Was it a fair price? What did they like most? Ask a few different people, since experiences vary from one person to the next, then decide which auto repair shops you’re most interested in checking out.
Look for online reviews. You can look for local reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, CarTalk and the Consumer Reports car repair estimator site. Check out the company's Facebook page, too. In addition to getting a better idea of what kind of customer experience you can expect, these sites will also give more information about the shops’ specialties.
Check certifications. Make sure your mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). This certification ensures excellence in vehicle repair and lets you know your service professional is qualified to work on your car.
See what the Better Business Bureau says about it. Complaints against auto repair shops are more common than you might think; in fact, in 2018, auto repairs were ranked 15th on the BBB’s list of complaints. A quick visit to their website can help you avoid potential problems.
What Qualities Do You Need from Your Mechanic?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of auto repair shops, you can fine-tune your search to choose which one is the best fit for you. If you have two or three that all seem like good candidates, knowing what qualities you want from them could help you make that decision. So let’s look at the five qualities you want to make sure your local auto mechanic has.
- Great communication skills. You want a mechanic who will take the time to explain what’s wrong with your car, what caused the problem and what needs to be done to fix it. Does he take time to discuss your options? Will he let you know if the repair is going to take longer than planned — or cost more than he originally estimated?
- Has experience with your car’s make and model. Not all mechanics have worked on all types of vehicles, and all cars are not created equal. Make sure that the mechanic you choose has worked on your specific make and model. In addition to being able to complete your repair more efficiently, he might know of other problems that frequently occur with your type of vehicle and can let you know what to look for in the future.
- Is willing to stand behind his work. What kind of warranty does the mechanic offer? If you’re not happy with the repair, or if it doesn’t completely resolve the problem, what kind of policy does he have? A good mechanic is going to be committed to helping you get the best possible outcome for your vehicle, and wants to keep you happy as a customer.
- Interested in what is best for your car. The last thing you want when you go to a new mechanic is to feel like he’s going to run up a bill. You want a mechanic who cares about your car’s long-term performance as well as your safety... and your financial considerations. If there’s more than one problem to be addressed, can he help you prioritize which ones are most important to keep your car on the road?
- Able to help with financing. Car repairs often seem to happen when you least expect them and they can put a strain on your family budget. Rather than go without having the repairs done, or sacrificing some other necessity, being able to finance your automotive repairs is a huge plus.
Making the Most of Your Auto Repair Experience
When you find a mechanic who seems like a good fit, it’s in your (and your car’s) best interest to develop a long-term relationship with them. A mechanic who is familiar with your car will develop an understanding of your car’s quirks and history, and can catch minor issues before they develop into serious problems.
Just as you want your family to consistently see the same doctor because he or she will be familiar with your specific health conditions, a consistent relationship with a mechanic means you’ll be able to trust them with your repairs and get advice when you have major decisions to make.
While it might be tempting to choose a mechanic based on which one is closest to your home or which one is cheapest, that can backfire. Rather than making the “easiest” decision, make the most informed decision. That will give you a much better chance of finding a mechanic who is able to provide the services you need — not just today, but down the road as well.
We know where all the great mechanics are — with us at Rainbow Muffler & Brake. We have six convenient locations in the Cleveland area so you don't have to drive far for car experts. Click below to find your local shop.