Tips on how to choose a car mechanic

July 28, 2015

There's no doubt that owning a car will cost you money, but when it comes time to take your car in for repairs, you can save by asking the right questions and shopping around for the best service and price. So what's the best way to choose a car mechanic?

Tips on how to choose a car mechanic

1. Ask the right questions

  • Does the shop honour your car's specific warranty?
  • Does the shop display its warranty information?
  • Does the warranty cover both parts and labour?
  • Is pricing displayed? You should be able to know immediately how much the shop charges per hour for labour and/or particular jobs.
  • Are the mechanics in the shop certified by a recognized Canadian body?
  • Does the shop display training certificates and service awards?
  • Will the shop provide you with a written estimate?
  • Does the shop have any complaints lodged against it?
  • Is the staff helpful and courteous?
  • Do you feel comfortable asking them questions?

2. Record repairs

Keep a logbook filled with details about every repair made to your car.

  • Write down who did the work, what it entailed, and when it was done. It will help you know immediately if a suggested repair (new tires, new brake pads, and so on) doesn't make sense.
  • It will also be a handy document that will help you sell your car when you're ready.

3. Pretend you're at the doctor

Next time you go to the mechanic, ask lots of questions before you agree to have him (or her) make repairs.

  • Be sure to ask about the labour rate and how much the parts and supplies will cost.
  • If you're not comfortable with the answers or the price — or this mechanic hasn't come recommended by someone you trust — consider going elsewhere for a second opinion.

4. Comparison shop

If you've shopped around for repair estimates, make sure you're comparing apples with apples.

  • For example, one mechanic may replace a worn part with a new part, while another may replace it with a rebuilt part.
  • Pay close attention to what the estimates include.
  • You don't want to trust you car repair to just anyone. You'll want to ask the right questions and keep track of everything the car mechanic does to ensure you get great work without overpaying.
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