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Tips on choosing a good mechanic

If you're searching for the right mechanic or shop, consider these tips:

Look for mechanics with National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certification. Most states don't require it for employment, but most auto repair shops consider ASE certification a prerequisite when they hire. The institute certifies technicians who have passed a competency test covering multiple repairs. After five years, mechanics must take additional courses to retain certification. In addition, many technicians obtain other certifications in specialty repairs, such as auto body or diesel engines. If your vehicle requires a specialty repair, check to make sure your mechanic has appropriate certification.

Avoid shops that don't offer a warranty. A good mechanic will offer a guarantee or warranty on services provided. Warranty time frames are typically at least 90 days. Don't rely on a verbal agreement; be sure to get any warranty in writing.

Don't make your decision based on price alone. A properly trained, certified and experienced mechanic may charge more than others, but it may be money well spent. For instance, work done by an unlicensed technician may void the warranty on parts and may even void your vehicle warranty.

Choose a mechanic who's appropriately licensed and insured. Many states require mechanics to obtain a state business license to run a repair shop. In addition, counties and municipalities may mandate that auto repair pros have local repair permits, as well as permits for handling hazardous waste such as oil, gasoline or transmission fluid. Also, a shop may need to have a local business license in order to operate legally. Be aware that some unscrupulous companies may apply for a license during their first year of operation but won't renew it.

When it comes to insurance, auto service shops should have three kinds: 1. General liability, which provides overage if your car is damaged while in the shop or you're injured while on the property; 2. Business owner's policy, which includes coverage of the shop's business property and assets; 3. Worker's compensation, which covers any accidents that happen to workers on the job.

Ask around. When vetting auto repair shops, consider the experiences of friends, family and neighbors. Check a trusted online source for consumer reviews. A good auto mechanic should be busy and have plenty of satisfied customers to spread the word around.

Visit the shop. Ask the technician or shop representative to show you certifications and proof of insurance. If there's reluctance, go elsewhere.

Tips on choosing a good mechanic 12/02/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 9, 2013 4:22pm]

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