Theoretically, you can live in Southern California without owning a car – but it will most certainly circumscribe your way of life. Our public transportation system, overall, is much improved from what it used to be, but when it comes to getting exactly where you want to go, when you want to get there, over long distances – no transportation is better than the private car.
Aside from your home and your college education, your car is the biggest investment you’ll ever make. In 2015, the price of a new car was, on average, $31,252 (source: TrueCar.com). When you spend that much, you had better take good care of it – and that means finding the right mechanic.
Finding the right mechanic really is like finding gold. Why? Because it will put money into your pocket…more precisely, keep that money from leaving your pocket in the first place. Regular car care is essential if you want your car to run for years after you’ve finished making payments on it. That means following your owner’s manual to the letter to schedule oil changes, tire rotations, replacement of air filters, spark plugs, and belts, as well as the major 30/60/90,000 mile services.
Mechanics are all over the place. You can drive several blocks down a major roadway and find at least five in less than a minute of driving. You need to ask this one question first, though: How can I be sure if the mechanic is a good one?
This list has some general guidelines:
- Is the mechanic ASE-certified? ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence, a company that has been testing and certifying automotive service professionals since 1972. ASE testing is stringent, as it should be: ASE-certified professionals must pass a test that one out of three fails the first time and have either two years of on-the-job training or one year plus a two-year degree in automotive repair. If a mechanic does not have the blue ASE badge in the shop, don’t even take that chance.
- Go to auto shows that specialize in your car’s make and ask the exhibitors where they take their cars. When mechanics are experienced with Toyota, Mercedes, Ford, etc., they speak your car’s language.
- In fact, go to car shows in general, even vintage ones. Mechanics who keep vintage cars at their showtime best are the gold standard.
- Does the mechanic offer a warranty, and how long does it last?
- Does the mechanic explain service in language that you can understand – not indecipherable “garage-speak”?
- Visit the shop and make note of its cleanliness. A clean shop is, more likely than not, a meticulous shop.
- Find out what parts they use. You may not have realized it, but car parts makers often have high-end and low-end versions of the same part. Shifty mechanics use low-end parts, but charge high-end prices. Your dealer manual, or the Haynes and Chilton manuals, will give an honest assessment of the prices of brand-name parts.
- Ask your friends, especially those who have the same make of car as you, about their experiences with car repair. They can let you know what shops have ripped them off and what shops give you fair deals.
- Make a visit to JobQuotes.com. JobQuotes is a must for anyone looking for talented local professionals. We let customers rate our professionals fairly, so you have an idea of what to expect. Fair play is the JobQuotes way – why not start your search now?