Everyone hears horror stories about people who took their car to a mechanic who charged them a huge sum of money for a repair, only to have the problem return within weeks (or even days). While not all mechanics are this way, hearing stories like this usually raise some concerns, especially in those who are not particularly car savvy. If you are unsure of how to find a mechanic who will be honest and offer you the best deals, don't despair. You can find a mechanic who will do you right, as long as you follow a few tips.
First of all, you should talk to other people who have cars, especially if they have had their cars for quite some time. Most "seasoned" automotive owners have found someone that they can count on to repair their car at a fair and reasonable price. Ask around and see what you find. While you may not get the same answer from everyone, you will definitely have an idea of where to start, and hopefully someone you trust will be able to get you in contact with a mechanic who has kept their cars running for years.
There are also some auto organizations which will include some mechanics, including Triple A and Triple B. If a mechanic has the skills and reputation to be a part of one of these organizations, they will most likely advertise that to both their current and their potential customers. If you see a Triple A sticker in a mechanic's window, you can be reassured that you are most likely in good hands. Many auto mechanics also have another way to prove their reliability. Often, you can find someone who will offer you a warrantee on most (or all) types of repairs. While this does not always mean that the repair will last, it does mean that as long as you haven't broken any of the conditions of the warrantee, if the repair needs to be made again, you will not have to pay for it twice. This way you can be sure that your mechanic is not purposefully or neglectfully making poor repairs, as they will lose money on a free repair, and will almost always do their best work the first time.
Something that you can do either instead of either of the above, or do in addition to them, is to compare mechanics yourself, face to face. Instead of having your car repaired by the first mechanic who sees your car, take it in and ask them to not make any repairs. Ask them to tell you what is wrong with your car, what they would do to fix it, and how much it would cost. Advice such as this will either be free or will cost much less than repair. You can then take your car into other auto mechanics and ask them similar questions. This way, even if you were to get four different opinions (or supposed opinions) on your car's conditions, you may be able to get an idea of what needs to be done. If the four opinions only match on one point, such as a damaged radiator, then you will know that this is the repair that should be done first, and may be the only repair you should worry about.
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