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Finding the Right Mechanic or Garage

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 5 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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As anyone who owns a car will know, if you manage to find a reliable mechanic they can be worth their weight in gold. Taking care of your car is vitally important in terms of safety and ensuring your car has a lengthy life, and a good mechanic could even be the difference between life and death. So how can you find a reliable mechanic or garage?

Ask Around

The best way to find a reliable mechanic is through a referral. Start by asking people you know, whose opinions you respect. If they tell you that the mechanic they use is reliable, helpful and doesn’t rip off their customers, then perhaps you should give them the opportunity to work on your car.

Realistic Logistics

Whatever your criteria for a good garage, first and foremost you need them to be relatively easy to get to. You need a garage to be either close to your work or your home, preferably within walking distance for those times when your car will need to be left at the garage.

Face to Face

A good mechanic always treats their customers with respect. It doesn’t hurt for a would-be customer to walk in and see how they are greeted. You’ll hope to see a well-maintained garage, with clean bays, busy but not chaotic, with good computer systems to keep track of their customers and letting them know when they are due in for their service or MOT. It is good for a business to be organised and it is good for customers to be reminded of when they need to bring their cars in for work.

The waiting room should be both clean and comfortable. It is also worth keeping an eye on the people who work in the garage. Whenever you visit do you see the same, familiar faces, or does the garage have a high turnover of staff?

High turnover often is indicative of poor working conditions or a lack of job satisfaction. You wouldn’t your car’s maintenance dependent on disgruntled or lazy workers.

Developing a Relationship

Your mechanic should be the first person you speak to when your car has developed a fault, no matter how big or small. If a mechanic has worked on your car several times, for example for services or oil changes, then if your car suddenly starts to develop a strange noise they could be able to solve it more quickly than a random garage contacted via the Yellow Pages.

If you want the best from your mechanic, then you ought to have a basic understanding of your car yourself. You should understand that brake pads, brake discs and tyres don’t last forever, and should be replaced before their condition becomes dangerous.

Bear in mind that the older your vehicle, the more wear and tear costs you will face. Many mechanics suffer damage to their reputation because drivers do not know enough about their vehicle and feel that they are being ripped off when in fact the car itself has been poorly looked after and in need of significant work. Be appreciative that your mechanic will sometimes have to be the bearer of bad, and costly news.

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