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Posted by Joseph Clement on 31 May, 2018

For many of you, finding a trustworthy car mechanic will be very difficult. It’s stressful enough just having your car experience a mechanical fault. Finding a local, reliable mechanic can add to that stress, especially when you have no idea what is wrong with your vehicle and how much it will cost to fix. I am going to share some advice that will help you take the right steps towards finding a local mechanic that you can trust.

It’s normal to worry about being taken advantage of when entering into a transaction with someone you don’t know very well. So don’t feel bad about wanting to do some research before taking your car to a vehicle repair shop. Most everyday people don’t know more than the basics when it comes to the mechanical workings of a car. Therefore, you are putting a lot of faith and confidence in the automotive mechanic you select to work on your vehicle. It isn’t unreasonable for you to expect a high standard of work and a fair price for the completion of that work.

Find out what is wrong with your car

One of the first things you will want to do is try to figure out what is wrong with your car. Use the internet to your advantage and visit some online forums to see if anyone has experienced a similar issue. Also, speak to your friends and family to see if they can help you figure out what the problem is. Once you have a rough idea of what the issue could be the next step is to obtain a car repair estimate.

Get some quotes

Try to get quotes from several different car garages and find out if VAT is included in the cost. The last thing you want is to find out that the final bill is higher than expected because you overlooked the VAT. Basically, you want to obtain as much information as you can, including the cost of parts, whether the parts are used or new, if the parts are from the manufacturer or a third party, labour costs and if the diagnosis of your vehicle is free or not.

Ask around for a recommendation

When deciding which vehicle repair shops to contact it is a good idea to ask friends and family if they have any recommendations. One of the main mechanics I use is a long time friend of my father. He and his team of mechanics always do a great job, provide a fair price and talk me through the work that has been done. Because of the good service and personal relationship I always think of him first when deciding on which automotive mechanic to use. I understand that not everyone will know a mechanic that is a friend of their family, but my point is that you need to ask around and see if anyone you know has a suggestion.

Research local garages

Another thing you can do is go online and try to find some reviews of the mechanics in your local area. Reading the opinions of past customers is a great way to figure out if a garage can be trusted or not. Always make sure you are visiting a website that is not connected to the garage to ensure that you are getting honest and unbiased information.

Give authority to proceed

Once you have figured out roughly what is wrong with your car, researched local garages and obtained some quotes, the next step is to select a vehicle repair shop and take your car in. After the garage has conducted a diagnosis of the vehicle and confirmed what the problem is, you can give them the authority to proceed with the agreed repair work. It is at this stage that you should ask the mechanic for a written quote that includes parts, labour and VAT costs. Also, let the mechanic know if you want them to use approved manufacturer parts which may be necessary to keep any remaining warranty on your car valid.

Watch the repair work being done

Another option that may be available to you is to watch the repair work being carried out. Obviously, if it is a big job that could take some time it may not be practical for you to stay for the entire process. However, if you can stay it will give you that extra piece of mind knowing that you witnessed the work being done. All you need to do is ask the garage if you can watch. Most vehicle repair shops will not have a problem with you watching. Although, if for whatever reason you are unable to watch the work being done ask the mechanic to show you once it is complete. If they have done a good job, they will be more than happy to talk you through everything.

Avoid future problems

If you are happy with the work and the price you were given it is a good idea to maintain a relationship with the mechanic you used. Have a talk with them about how you can best maintain the health of your vehicle. This will include things like servicing and your annual MOT. You should follow the service schedule outlined in your vehicle handbook as this will help you to prevent issues and spot any potential problems early. Additionally, it is a good idea to share your experience and recommend your garage to others.

Conclusion

Finding a trustworthy mechanic in your local area is easier said than done, but it is possible. As long as you are prepared to do some research, shop around and ask questions, you should have no problem uncovering a reliable vehicle repair shop. Make sure you get more than one car repair estimate and search for the best mechanic prices. Also, speak to friends and family as they may be able to recommend automotive mechanics to you. Lastly, use the internet to your advantage, find out what is wrong with your car, read garage reviews and make sure your mechanic keeps you informed every step of the way.