Topics to discuss before hiring your next mechanic
Few decisions weigh as heavily on automobile owners as their choice of mechanic. A good mechanic goes a long way toward ensuring drivers and their passengers stay safe on the road and that those drivers' vehicles perform at their peak for years to come. That's an important role to play, and it's why many drivers acknowledge that choosing a mechanic is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Rest assured you don't need to be a car guy or gal to find a trustworthy and talented mechanic. You might just need to open a dialogue with a prospective mechanic, discussing a handful of topics that can help you feel more comfortable and know you have made the right choice in automotive service provider once a final decision has been made. Certification Certification can go a long way toward helping drivers find mechanics they can trust. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence was founded in 1972 and continues to work to improve the quality of automotive service and repair by testing automotive technicians and certifying those who live up to or exceed ASE standards. An ASE-certified technician should have his or her credentials readily available to prospective customers, and these credentials list each professional's area of certification. When shopping for a new mechanic, make sure that he or she is ASE-certified. In addition, discuss with the mechanic his or her work history, including any additional areas of expertise. Pricing policies Many mechanics offer free estimates, but that should not be taken for granted. When bringing a car in for an estimate, drivers should confirm with the mechanic who will conduct the examination if the estimate is free or if they will be charged an inspection fee. In addition to any fees regarding estimates, drivers should also inquire about labor costs and the payment policies at the facility. Labor can be quite expensive, so it's best that you know these rates in advance of any repairs being conducted on your vehicle. It's also important to get a rundown of the company payment policies, especially if your vehicle is in need of potentially costly repairs. You don't want the bill to shock you once the work has been completed, so don't hesitate to be inquisitive before leaving a car at the garage. Parts Replacing parts on a vehicle is a cause for concern for many drivers, and rightfully so. Consumer advocacy groups have exposed many mechanics who pass off used auto parts as new parts, charging their customers new part prices along the way. While there's no way drivers can guarantee they won't fall victim to such criminal behavior, they can inquire about company policies regarding vehicle parts. Does the garage even install used parts? If so, do they let drivers choose either new or used parts before any work is done? If the garage only uses new parts, ask for parts with solid warranties, so if the part must be replaced, you won't have to pay for it again. Documentation The preowned vehicle market is thriving, and drivers who take care of their vehicles have earned the right to reap their rewards for being good owners when it comes time to sell the car. When interviewing prospective mechanics, ask if they are willing to provide detailed documentation of any work they do on your vehicle. Such documentation can then be shared with prospective buyers when you want to sell the car, and it also serves as a way to keep the garage accountable for all the work they have done on the car throughout your relationship.