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How to find the right mechanic

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/18/2006 | Auto and Trucks

How to find the right mechanic

There is nothing more important than to have a trustworthy mechanic. He should be available when you need him most, should not overcharge and should not take advantage of you.  Some mechanics take advantage of women car owners, remove original parts and replace them with substandard parts. It is therefore important that you choose your mechanic with care.

The first thing that you need to check is whether your garage is an affiliate of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) or not. The ASA is the benchmark of garages, and offers reliable service.

The next thing you need to check is whether the garage holds the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certificate. The ASE certificate indicates quality service, and is awarded only to those garages that confirm to strict ASE standards.

You then need to check the skill level of the mechanics. The cars of today are not just machines on wheels. They are very sophisticated and computerized. This makes it essential for the mechanic to constantly update himself on the latest innovations in the automobile industry. On way to find this is to check if the technicians have had proper training. Never allow an untrained mechanic to lay hands on your car.

You must remember that there is considerable specialization in the field. There are mechanics who handle only one or two kinds of cars. Similarly there are mechanics who handle only specific kinds of work. Check this beforehand to avoid your Maserati being repaired in at a garage meant for Ford Minivans. Similarly, it is unwise to expect a mechanic who specializes in carburetors to rectify a problem in the gear shaft. It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of a garage.

Some garages have tie-ups with used parts dealers while some others will buy parts from authorized dealers only. Find out what is the practice of the garage. Your effort should be to locate a garage that uses only company authorized parts. It is better to pay a little extra then come back repeatedly for repairs.

Usually, invoices from garages are hard to understand. It is better to inform the mechanics that you need a break up of the costs. Instead of going through the mile-long invoice, ask the mechanic to take you in and around the car to show what was changed and what was repaired. Also check the parts that were replaced. If possible, have the work done in our presence, especially if it is your first visit to the garage.

You must also enquire about the mode of payment and guarantee policy of the garage. Make sure you go through this before handing over the car. If any part has been replaced, ask for its warranty and check if it is as per the standard company norms.

These questions should help you a lot in your task of finding the right mechanic for your car. Once you spot the right guy, feel free and relaxed when youre behind the wheels. After all, you know you have a good mechanic who will attend to the problems.