How Can I Tell if My Car Repair Shop Is Trustworthy?

Photo of Ralph Kirberg

Everyone has heard stories about auto shops upselling parts or recommending unnecessary services. Unfortunately, some shops do use this shady practice, banking on people’s unfamiliarity with car maintenance. Granted, if you’re not already an expert, the world of auto repair can sound like a foreign language. But what can laymen do when they need auto repairs, yet don’t want to break the bank? This question essentially boils down to: is your mechanic legit?

How to Tell if Your Mechanic Is Legit

Fortunately, there are a few key signs to look for when assessing your auto shop. Finding a mechanic who displays all of these signs may save you a lot of money over time. On top of this, trusting that your mechanic won’t dupe you can take a lot of extra stress out of visits to the shop. So, is your mechanic legit? If they meet the following criteria, you might have a good one:

  • They can explain their diagnosis in a way that you understand.
    You can tell that a mechanic knows what they’re doing if they can explain it to you. Making a technical service accessible to those outside the field is a hallmark of expertise. So, when you take your car to a shop, make sure to ask what exactly needs to be done and why. Getting a hands-on walk-through is even better. If your mechanic can’t make things clear, or can’t explain why you need a service, you should be skeptical.
    Additionally, asking clarifying questions suggests to the mechanic that you’re knowledgeable. This will reduce the likelihood that the mechanic will try to pull one over on you.
  • They offer you alternatives.
    Many shops will diagnose a problem and then offer a service or a part to fix it. However, laymen should know that there are almost always alternative options. Parts will vary in brand and price. So a mechanic that only offers you one option may be trying to get you to buy the most expensive choice. At the same time, some services will fix the problem in one go, while others might just be a quick, but temporary, fix.
    Of course, not all mechanics are intentionally malicious. Sometimes they will put only one suggestion on the table because they believe it the best option. Or they might just want to save you time by going with the default manufacturer’s product. You can always ask for alternatives or visit another shop to compare recommendations.
  • They rarely push for extra services.
    There are cases in which your car might be in serious need of repairs. However, be wary of those mechanics which tend to always find extra problems after they’ve performed a “free inspection.” While it could be the case that you need other services, you should get a second opinion to be sure.
    Additionally, be wary of recommendations that go against your manufacturer’s suggestion. Double-check with your manual to see what routine maintenance intervals to expect. Again, you may truly need extra services, but try to get that second opinion if you can.

Finding an Auto Mechanic Near Me

So, is your mechanic legit? We hope so! However, for people in need of a second opinion, or who are skeptical of their current mechanic, come visit our Belmont auto repair shop. We offer services and insight our customers can trust. Feel free to give us a call at (650) 336-5911.

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