In the summer, many of us take frequent, long road trips to visit family and friends. When packing for these trips, it is easy to forget to check up on one essential item: your car. A quick trip to a good mechanic will save break downs and car troubles when traveling this summer. Here are some tips on finding a great mechanic near you.
Find a mechanic before you might need one. Waiting until your car breaks down is definitely too late and is not safe for your family. If your car is under warrantee, head to the dealership to get a free or highly discounted service. If not, independent shops are definitely a cheaper option.
If you are looking for a good, independent shop, ask your friends and family. These references are more reliable then the phone book or online. It is also helpful to talk to other people who own the same model of car. Check out the classifieds or find an Internet forum for your car.
If you have a more modern car, make sure the service shop you choose has the right equipment. Special tools may be needed to diagnose certain problems on some advanced systems. Ask the mechanic what equipment they plan on using on the car and if it is tailored to the specific make or model. It also does not hurt to ask about what types of parts they plan on using and why. Factory parts are the best option for your car, but aftermarket parts are used often to save the customer money.
Read reviews. There are plenty out there and the information is accurate and honest. Also, look for certifications and memberships. ASE Automotive Service Excellence certification means that mechanics must pass knowledge tests, so you can ensure that the mechanics know what they are doing. ASA Automotive Service Association members must pledge to uphold certain ethics such as having excellent customer service and performing high-quality service.
Look for shops with a customer satisfaction guarantee. Make sure the shop you choose takes customer complaints and satisfaction seriously. If they are not willing to back up their work, they are probably not going to treat the car right. If you have more time, find a mechanic that specializes in your car. You will probably end up receiving better service since your type of car is what they know best.
Finally, do not be afraid to ask questions. The mechanic should be able to answer anything you ask without much attitude. If they blow you off or do not break down complicated concepts, you may want to consider finding someone else. Do your homework, find a great mechanic, and make sure to have your car serviced this summer.