Shopping For A Mechanic

18 08 2010

Dale BertramQ: I need to find a good mechanic.  Everyone tells you they are honest, they are fair and that they know their stuff.  How can I really tell a good one from a bad one?

A:  Most of the time you won’t even see the person who actually works on your car.  You will be dealing with the service advisor.  The mechanic, or as we call them, technicians will inspect your vehicle and bring his or her findings to the service advisor.  The service advisor will then contact you and let you know what the technician recommends and the estimate.  Most shops are honest and truly care about doing right by the customer.

Q:  So all technicians are good?

A:  A good technician will be ASE certified.  Look for certifications when you enter a shop or ask at the counter.  An ASE certification is something to be proud of. Of course, in this industry they have to keep up with ever changing technology so continuing education is vital.  Being certified can boost your ratings in the automotive industry. The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence was established in the 1970s. It was implemented to assist consumers in their search for the most qualified person for an automotive job. Through this organization, an auto mechanic can achieve ASE certification. Approximately 420,000 mechanics hold an ASE certification. To attain this, they must register to take and pass one or more of the 40 different exams created by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence. A mechanic with an ASE badge generally knows his/her craft well. Years of experience, hours of technical training and knowledge of tools are all necessary to provide the necessary services and repairs vehicle owners deserve and in fact, demand.

Q:  Do service advisors work on cars too?

A:  In a small shop sometimes the person at the counter wears many different hats.  They can be the owner, the service advisor and turn a wrench too!  In most shops though, you will find that the service advisor meets and greets the customer, schedules services and does the estimating.  They also have to take tests and in most cases are extremely knowledgeable about car repair and has the education to work on cars should it be necessary.  The owner may also be found on occasion at the front counter because they enjoy meeting and greeting their customers and they also fill in when others are on vacation.

Q:  So most people working in a shop know how to do a lot of different things?

A:  This is true.  You must understand that people typically work in shops because they love cars.  It is their passion.  When looking for a shop you might keep a few things in mind:

  • The shop should be clean
  • The staff should be friendly and knowledgeable
  • The staff should never sound condescending when talking to you about your vehicle’s needs
  • Make sure the shop offers a good warranty…a good shop stands behind their parts and labor
  • Ask them for a referral from other customers or check out their website or Google for customer testimonials

Happy Motoring,

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