ONE of the most difficult things about car ownership is the search for a good mechanic or workshop. There are a thousand and one workshops out there, so why is it such a difficult task to find just one good mechanic? Well, they are out there, so it takes more than just driving into the most convenient workshop and hoping that you have found the “one”.
A good foreman will help to keep your car running longer and save you money on repairs. They will charge you reasonable rates and use the correct original parts. Here are a few tips on how to find a good mechanic:
ASK YOUR FRIENDS
Most of us will have friends who own the same kind of cars we drive. The particular marque you drive is particularly important since most good mechanics are trained to repair and service a particular marque. Ask a few friends who they go to and how they rate that mechanic. If the same name comes up more than once, you could be in luck.
Another method is to join a club that caters to your particular marque or model. The members of the club will have several good mechanics that service their cars.
USE THE INTERNET
Use search engines on the Internet to find out who specialises in your particular marque. However, since there are numerous advertisements that you may encounter, a Web forum may be the only good resource. Trawl the forums to find a particular shop or mechanic and make sure you also enter the particular area you are interested in.
This is also a good way to find out who is a bad mechanic as well, but beware that it is extremely easy to badmouth someone on the Internet, sometimes without reason or proof.
Fleet servicing workshops
Delivery vans, taxis, company cars and government vehicles are required to be in good order at all times. They are usually taken to a good mechanic when they need maintenance work or repairs. If they specialise in your marque, there’s a good chance the mechanic will be able to pinpoint certain troubles with accuracy and know the remedies.
You may be able to just ask a fleet driver or do an online search to pinpoint the correct mechanic for you.
APPROVED AUTO MECHANICS
Your local auto club or association such as the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) will have a listing of workshops in their booklet or guide. Even though you might not be a member, it is particularly useful because all participating shops usually offer warranties on all repairs, use certified mechanics and technicians and need to pass an annual inspection.
DEALER AND MANUFACTURER-CERTIFIED SHOPS
When mechanics are certified by a dealer or manufacturer, that means they will have gone through the required courses of the particular make of car that they work on and have worked with a dealership dealing with that particular marque. Even if they have left the dealership, they will certainly have the certificate mounted somewhere in their workshop.
Some things you might want to know about your prospective mechanic:
1. How many years have they been in business?
2. How many years of experience do they have (especially with your marque)?
3. Do they guarantee their work? What sort of warranties do they offer?
4. Are the mechanics certified? What type of training do their mechanics have?
5. What types of parts do they use — new or used, original or after-market?
6. Can you provide your own parts?
7. Do they offer loaner cars while your car is in the shop?
START WITH SMALL ITEMS
The best time to find a mechanic is before any major servicing is needed. Do a simple oil change, brake pad replacement or coolant change to test out a mechanic’s skills and professionalism.
Spend some time asking the questions above and monitor his work to assure yourself that you have found the “one”. But beware, a good mechanic sometimes has a queue of customer cars to work on. So, be prepared to wait in order to get the best out of your mechanic.
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