How to Choose the Right Mechanic


RelayRides blogger Amanda L. Grossman shares strategies for how to find the right mechanic to work with.

As a person who only purchases used cars, I understand the necessity of having a trustworthy and knowledgeable mechanic in your rolodex. Over the years, I’ve had mufflers and windshields replaced, head gaskets blow, weird grinding noises, a few leaks, etc. And while I can confidently say that paying cash for used vehicles has saved me gobs of money (even with the repairs they’ve needed), finding a mechanic to trust and work with has not been easy.

If you often cringe at the thought of taking your car into a shop because you don’t know who the mechanic is, or if you suspect your current mechanic is taking you and your bank account for a ride, then read on to find out ways to find the right mechanic. Trust me, doing so is worth its weight in tires.

Ask Around

One of the first things you want to do in finding a mechanic to work with is to ask your friends, family, and coworkers who they trust. Several people you ask will probably not have found the right mechanic to work with either (and may even ask that you let them in on the one you eventually find), but one or two may have a lead for you.

In fact, this is how I found the mechanic I’ve worked with over the last few years who has saved me gobs of money and kept my used vehicle on the road. My friend, Helen, already knew of this guy, thanks to point #2 below.

Test their Knowledge and Trustworthiness

If you know a thing or two about cars, or have someone in your life who knows about cars, then you can test out a mechanic. For example, my friend Helen’s father lives in another country. He periodically visits her, and during one of his visits, he looked over her car.

This man knew a thing or two about vehicles, and was able to figure out what needed to be fixed, what did not need to be fixed, and preventable repairs for future car health.

So he took the vehicle to several mechanics and tested their knowledge as well as honesty. Doing so meant he found a very trustworthy mechanic for his daughter so that she’d be taken care of. Fortunately for me (since I asked), I now use this mechanic as well!

Note: If you don’t know much about cars, you can at least test out a mechanic’s trustworthiness by taking a car in for an unnecessary repair and seeing if they agree with you or save you money by being honest.

Check the Ratings

Once you are recommended a mechanic, or even if you just want to check into one yourself, you should do a little homework beforehand. Check out sites like Yelp.com for their auto repair reviews to see if anyone has left a review for the mechanic you wish to work with. Or you can actually find auto repair shops by zipcode and reviews through their site.

Edmunds.com also offers a way to search for auto mechanic reviews, though theirs is specifically for people looking for a dealer mechanic.

Finally, you’ll also want to check and see if your mechanic is registered with any business bureaus, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can scout this out on their website where you should be able to find a logo of any organization they are a member of, or do a search within the bureau website.

Finding a car mechanic may be a bit of a chore. Trust me, I’ve been there. But I can also say without a doubt that it is in your best interest to do so because they will save you time, headaches, and money over the life of your vehicle and beyond.