In car ownership, there is always the chance that a car may break down or develop an issue. Defects usually occur as car ages but even new cars run into problems once in a while. For this reason, it is best to know how to find a reputable mechanic.
Follow These Steps to Find a Reputable Mechanic
- Basic Description of Issue
- Dealership & Mechanic Research
- The Decision-Making
- Scheduling the Appointment
- Repairing the Vehicle
Basic Description of Issue
When you need to find a reputable mechanic, begin by diagnosing the problem. Whether the vehicle breaks down or there is an irregular sound, do your best to localize the issue. Do your best to describe the issue at hand so you can simplify the process. An added benefit to fully explaining the issue is a reduction of time needed by the mechanics to diagnose the problem. Less time means you spend less money out of your pocket.
The description of the issue begins with a fundamental analysis of the vehicle. If the vehicle breaks down, the problem is most likely with the engine. Should you hear an irregular noise while operating the vehicle, try to take note of where the sound is taking place. If another person is available, you could ask them to listen outside the vehicle. When the vehicle has an unusual vibration, be sure to take note of when it occurs, and whether it’s due to the motor or the vehicular motion.
Where is the Problem Located?
Problems that you can feel can include alignment, brake, steering wheel, tire, or transmission issues. An alignment issue can be noticed by steering wheel misalignment on a straight drive or the vehicle steering by itself to the left or right. An alignment issue is not a major problem, as long as you feel comfortable controlling the vehicle under the circumstances.
If the brakes do not feel the right, whether they are gripping less or losing pressure, it is best not to drive the vehicle before having the car repaired. Problems with the brakes can range from degraded pads and rotors to leaking brake lines.
If the steering wheel feels less sensitive or loose, the problem is most likely occurring in the steering system of the vehicle. Steering problems often arise from alignment or tire issues. If the car has overall difficulty steering, do not attempt to drive the vehicle as it is not a safe option.
Check Your Tires
Tire problems include damage, flat tires, leaks, low tire pressures, and unequal tire pressures. A damaged, flat, or low-pressure tire may make a noticeable difference in the feel of your vehicle. If the tire is damaged, it should be inspected by a technician ASAP. A damaged tire can lead to a blowout which is a very unsafe situation.
If the tire is flat or losing air, it is best to park the vehicle and replace it yourself or through a mobile vehicle service (such as AAA). Low-pressure tires may be good for sand but are not safe for normal road conditions. It is best to ensure tire pressure is below the maximum value on the tire and close to the value provided by the manufacturer on the inner door label.
A tire leak may not be noticeable until there is a flat tire, but sometimes a hissing sound may be present. If you notice a tire leak, move to the next step to see if it can be patched or needs replacing. Lastly, unequal tire pressures may not be noticeable, but sometimes it can lead to an uncomfortable ride.
Once you have described the problem, it is time to move onto the research portion of your preparation.
Dealership & Mechanic Research
The second step of finding a reputable mechanic is to conduct research. Depending on the vehicle’s mileage or year, the car may fall under warranty for some problems. The first step of research is to understand your circumstances. If you are within warranty requirements, then contact a local dealership to see if they can correct the issue. It is best to go to a dealership for warranty work. If not, then you can decide between a dealership or mechanic.
Find a Reputable Mechanic
Once you know about the warranty, it is time to conduct research. Whether you are searching for a dealership or a mechanic, the best place to start is the web. Go into your favorite search engine and look up your vehicle’s brand dealerships and mechanics with your zip code.
An example of this would be “Audi Dealership 12345” or “Audi Mechanic 12345”. Once you see the list of possible options, there will usually be ratings available to you. If not, you can make a list of the options then use a review website such as Google, Yelp, or even social media.
The rating of the business is usually a good indicator of their services but always be sure to read some reviews, both negative and positive, to see both sides of the story. Sometimes negative reviews can save you from a disaster, but sometimes they are illegitimate or due to the customer’s lack of understanding.
Once you have checked the reviews and decided on a location, you can start the next step. Now, you will want to call each dealership and mechanic shop to obtain prices for the job. If you are looking for the best repair for your vehicle regardless of price, the dealership is probably the best place to go. This recommendation does not mean that a general mechanic cannot handle the job, but dealerships hire and train workers trained on a specific brand which creates a better understanding of those cars.
If you are worried about cost, the dealership is usually more expensive than the mechanic. From here, it is up to you to make the best decision based on the reviews and your expectations.
The Decision-Making Process
The third step is to decide on the dealership or mechanic shop. As mentioned above, you should base the decision on both your expectations and the researched reviews. If you have chosen a mechanic, then you are ready to schedule your appointment. If not, take more time to look at more reviews as well as seek additional information from the shops.
Remember, do not allow a shop to pressure you into an appointment. You are the customer, not them. In the end, ensure you are satisfied with your decision as once you begin the repairs, you can’t go “Hey! Stop! I changed my mind!” while the cars gutted in the shop.
Scheduling the Appointment
Once you find a reputable mechanic you need to schedule an appointment. Call the dealer or technician on the phone during hours and check their availability. Analyze your schedule and make a decision that is best for you. If the problem will only take a few hours to repair and you can wait, do so. If not, ask for a rental vehicle for the day.
Dealerships may offer rental cars for a small cost while mechanics usually do not provide this service. If the dealer and mechanic can’t help you, then you can always rent one on your own. You could also take advantage of the situation and rent a car such as an Alfa Romeo 4C for the day. If you do, make sure to take a “sick” day.
Repairing the Vehicle
If you find a reputable mechanic, you can feel confident that they care about you, your car, and your satisfaction. Once the car is ready for pickup, they will call you. If there wasn’t any warranty coverage, then you will be responsible for all expenses related to the repair including paint, parts, and wages.
Be sure to check the bill over to ensure they didn’t charge you for something you didn’t need. If your repair was for a motor belt and the bill shows an exhaust tip replacement, you can point that out. If you did not agree to repairs in-person, by email, or over the telephone, you should not have to pay for the charges. At this stage, confront the dealer or shop – if they will not discuss it with you then you may consider seeking an attorney, but we won’t get into that. Otherwise, as long as you are satisfied with the bill and repair, you are ready to get back on the road.
When you need to find a reputable mechanic, there is no reason to stress. From localizing the issue to the day of repair, the steps above should help you get through the process. Research and communication are vital to your success.