Community Manager
Community Manager


Content provided courtesy of USAA.


Many people consider their car their baby. And like a baby, it needs good care and proper handling.


So, how can you find a reliable, trustworthy mechanic worthy of your car?


Thirty years ago, it may not have been that hard to find a great mechanic who could open your hood and immediately diagnose the problem.


But today's cars have a lot of computerized components, and without expensive diagnostic equipment, it can be difficult to determine what ails a vehicle.


Melani Scamardo, director of auto advice with USAA, offers these pointers for choosing a mechanic who's up to the task:


    • Try the dealer's service shop. Dealers often understand the common problems of your particular vehicle, have the parts on hand (or generally available) and have certified mechanics perform the work. But they also have high overhead, which means they can be expensive.


    • Listen to word-of-mouth. Ask around. People with similar makes and models can tell you about their mechanic experiences.


    • Ask online. Internet forums devoted to specialty cars can be another good resource. For example, an online club for Corvette owners can steer you toward a local mechanic to work on your Stingray — and tell you whom to avoid.


      • Check with the Better Business Bureau. Your local BBB may be able to give you information about an auto repair shop, including how long it's been in business and what type of complaints it has received.

Scamardo also recommends these steps for helping ensure your repair experience is optimum:


        • Shop around. See whose prices fit your budget. If you receive quotes that seem out of line, either at the high or low end, always ask questions. An expensive quote could signal excessive repairs while a low quote could mean the mechanic only plans a short-term fix.


        • Get it in writing. Ask for a written estimate and check what's covered. Ask about warranties and see if any recalls cover the work you need.


        • Look for certifications. Use mechanics certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (look for the ASE logo).


        • Check out the shop. Is it clean and organized? Are old, partially repaired cars hanging around for long periods? Does it present a professional image or feel to you?

Good communication with the shop you choose can make for a positive experience, Scamardo says.


"Communication between you and the mechanic is the basis of the repair relationship," she says. "They should be able to show you the problem, explain how they plan to repair it and why. They should be able to answer all your questions."