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How to Find a Trustworthy Car Mechanic

11 Tips for Finding a Trustworthy Auto Mechanic

Sarita Harbour

Though many Americans depend on a safe and reliable vehicle to get around, it’s also a big investment. And, while maintaining your vehicle with regular servicing and tune-ups can go a long way to extending its life, finding an auto mechanic you can count on may prove to be a challenge. In fact, a recent survey found that more than 66% of U.S. drivers don’t trust auto repair shops in general.

So how do you identify an experienced, trustworthy mechanic who not only does a good job but also charges fairly — especially if you don’t know much about auto repairs and/or local businesses? Consider these 11 tips to help you find a reliable auto mechanic in your area.

1. Ask Your Neighbors, Family, and Friends

When you’re searching for a mechanic to work on your vehicle, you may feel tempted to go with a brand name or franchise name that you know. However, a local family-owned auto shop that’s dedicated to good customer service as a means to build the business that supports their family, could be just as good or even better.

When trying to decide between a family-owned auto shop or a franchise, ask around. People love to share their stories of who does good work, and who doesn’t.

2. Pay Attention to “Auto Experts” in the Media

Does your local newspaper or television news station have a local auto expert? If so, give their business a call when looking for a knowledgeable auto repair shop. Even though they may not offer the lowest prices in the area, if the media are willing to showcase their knowledge, chances are they know cars. So don’t choose your mechanic based on price alone.

3. Check With the Better Business Bureau

Although most mechanics are honest and most auto repair shops are trustworthy, every year there are some that leave customers less than happy. In 2016, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received over 10,000 complaints against auto repair companies.

Before taking your vehicle into a local auto repair shop, check out the reviews for them on the BBB website. You’ll see information about who owns the business and when it started. You’ll also find any reviews, complaints, and BBB accreditations.

4. Look for AAA-Certified Shops

More than 7,000 repair facilities across North America have the distinction of being an Approved Auto Repair (AAR) Facility, as accredited by the American Automobile Association (AAA). An AAR shop meets the strict professional standards of the AAA for customer service, facility appearance, and staff qualification and certification, and may be a good place to start when you need a new auto mechanic.

5. Find an ASE-Certified Mechanic

As with other professions, you may feel some peace of mind when you know you’re dealing with someone who has a professional certification in their field.

The independent nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) tests and certifies automotive professionals. ASE Certification for automotive technicians requires at least two years of on-the-job training or one year plus a two-year degree, plus successfully passing the test. Retests occur every five years to remain ASE-certified.

6. See Who the Bus and Taxi Companies Use

Bus companies and taxi companies depend on their vehicles to run smoothly. Why not call their head office and ask which local auto repair shop they use? Their recommendation could lead you to a trustworthy shop and a mechanic you can depend on.

7. Identify Shops That Have Been in Business Several Years

When considering a new auto repair shop, look for advertisements, window display stickers, or plaques celebrating how long the shop has been in business — the longer, the better. Or just ask. If their other customers hadn’t been satisfied all those years, the business would have folded a long time ago.

8. Take Your Vehicle in for a Minor Service

Before entrusting your vehicle to a new auto repair shop for major work, you can try them out with a smaller job, such as an oil change or tire rotation. See how they do. If they suggest additional work, say you’d like to get a second opinion. The service person’s reaction will tell you a lot about whether it’s a valid recommendation.

And, while you’re at it, ask about their options for payment plans, shop warranties and senior discounts. Offering some (or all) of these services shows they’re serious about providing good customer service and that they value their customers’ business.

9. Seek out the Educational Experts

Many high schools and community colleges offer auto and shop classes, and the instructors there could be good sources of information about trustworthy local mechanics and auto shops, plus those to stay away from.

They may also have recommendations for mechanics who specialize in working on your make of vehicle, or those with experience working in the service department of the local dealership for your auto manufacturer. If you’re driving a hybrid or electric car, they could point you to a mechanic who understands these new green vehicles.

10. Check for Community Involvement

Businesses of all sorts, including auto repair shops, that are serious about building a long-term business in an area look for ways to become involved in the community they operate in. Taking note of which businesses participate in or support local events can help you figure out who’s committed for the long haul.

While this alone won’t guarantee their level of expertise, it does point to the values of the business owner. Watch out for news on repair shops taking part in fundraisers, community barbecues and charity events. Make note of the name and location so you can do a little more research on their automotive experience and services offered.

11. Ask Your Auto Insurer

Did you know that your auto insurance provider may also recommend auto repair shops? There also could be an added benefit to using one of them. For example, customers may choose to use one of the more than 1,600 authorized auto repair shops in The Hartford’s approved network to work on their vehicle. The Hartford stands behind the completed work to give you peace of mind for as long as you own or lease your vehicle.

For many people, a vehicle is a significant investment, often second only in value to a home. It’s important to choose your auto repair shop and mechanic carefully. That way, you can help ensure that you’ll receive quality work at a fair price and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

What do you like most about the place where you get your car serviced? Please share with us and other readers in the comments below.

64 Responses to "11 Tips for Finding a Trustworthy Auto Mechanic"
    • Theodore DALEY, Jr. | September 12, 2022 at 11:59 am

      When driving by and notice his AAA logo. Stop in. He noted my Legion cap. Told me his dad was a Nam Vet, and it was on from there. Nearby Family also participate, also.

    • Kris | September 10, 2022 at 2:55 pm

      I agree that there is a lot of incompetence or fraud in the auto repair business. I’ve experienced having my car run out of gas suddenly on the highway, though the gauge said there was 1/4 tank. This happened soon after having the fuel pump replaced, so that was done incorrectly. I could have been seriously injured or worse. Also had been charged for replacement of rotors on wheels which was unnecessary since they were almost new….at a Firestone facility. Tried in both instances to get compensation but the system seems to favor the repair business, not the customer!

    • Joanne Hedge | September 8, 2022 at 11:30 am

      My ‘97 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo w/low miles has had great maintenance & repair upgrades since patronizing a local nearby family-owned garage recommended by area drivers. I passed along the recommendation to a neighbor re their ‘03 Infinity who was still patronizing her dealer garage without recent satisfaction.

    • Mercedes Mallard | August 24, 2022 at 5:50 pm

      Just wondering if any female mechanics exist in Houston TX?

    • Bella Wiley | July 4, 2022 at 11:13 pm

      We are looking for a car repair company to help us with our vehicle repair; I’m glad I came across this article and learned some tips when looking for a car service repair.

      I like how you talked about the importance of knowing how long the company has been running and their experience in car repair or services so you would know how good they are in the industry.

      I will share this with my husband and see how this can help us choose and decide who and when to contact for a vehicle repair.

      • Extra Mile Staff | July 5, 2022 at 7:23 am

        Bella – Thanks for reading Extra Mile! We’re glad you found this information useful.

    • Ellen Page Levi | March 22, 2022 at 4:24 am

      You provided some great tips.

    • brent | March 3, 2022 at 9:03 pm

      Hands down, one of the bets blog posts I’ve read about this topic. It’s just so intrinsically written and yet I learned a lot easily too!

    • Charlotte Fleet | September 8, 2021 at 2:12 pm

      My boyfriend’s car needs to have its engine repaired and he hopes to find an amazing auto mechanic. I appreciate your suggestion to ask around your friends and family when trying to decide on the best mechanic for your car. I’ll make sure that my boyfriend speaks with the people around him that he trusts and get their recommendations so he can find the best mechanic.

    • Windshield | August 26, 2021 at 10:41 am

      Nice Blog, Clearly explained. Looking forward viewing more content. Thank you.

    • gabbar garage | August 10, 2021 at 3:54 pm

      Useful post! I really need this type of article.. this is very useful for me.

    • Clark Andrews | July 29, 2021 at 1:33 am

      Thank you for sharing the tips. It will definitely help me finding a mechanic.

    • Sajjad Ahmad | May 20, 2021 at 1:56 am

      Such an amazing blog.

    • Alfred Ware | March 26, 2021 at 4:26 am

      What a fantastic post! This is so chock full of useful information. I can’t wait to dig deep and start utilizing the resources you have given me.

    • Gabbar Garage | March 18, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us its really helpful article.

    • Eli Richardson | March 1, 2021 at 11:18 am

      It really helped when you talked about how it’s important to know how long has a mechanic been in the business. I’m visiting an old friend in another city, and I noticed that my car started to make a weird noise. I thought it was because of the cold weather, but after a few days passed by, the noise kept getting worse. That’s why I need to find a reliable mechanic to help me check it out, and I think your article will help me find one. Thanks for the tips about what to consider when selecting a mechanic for your car’s needs.

    • Alice Carroll | January 14, 2021 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks for the tip about how AAA certifications can help me find credible auto mechanics. I plan to find a new car insurance plan soon for the car I bought last year. I have to make sure that the repair services that I get would be able to be covered by my plan if ever they are quite hefty.

    • Chris Pederson | December 29, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      Checking with the Better Business Bureau sounds like a great idea to make sure they are legit. I can also see any negative reviews. I’ll see what I can do when looking for a mechanic in my new town.

    • Alan Lenters | October 28, 2020 at 11:12 pm

      Your mechanic and auto body shop program, Relentless Collision, worked great on my Tesla repair but there are not too many options outside of authorized repair centers.

    • Megan Alder | October 5, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      My husband and I are looking for advice to hire a reliable mechanic to fix our truck. I would’ve never thought about checking the BBB to hire a trustworthy mechanic. I will definitely make sure that we start looking for the right mechanic to fix our truck by following your advice.

    • Victoria Addington | August 10, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      It’s interesting to know that you suggested looking for car body repair services that have been operating in several years. I agree that this shows that customers are satisfied with the company’s services. In fact, I am hoping to find one since I’d like to remove the dents on my vehicle. Hopefully, I can find one here in town.

    • Rosie Beckett | August 3, 2020 at 6:34 pm

      My best friend and I are planning an awesome camping trip that will take us off-roading, and I need to make sure that my diesel truck is in the best shape possible before we drive it across the country next month. I am thinking about taking it in to a mechanic who can check everything from the wheel alignment to the engine, and this article was extremely helpful! Thanks for explaining that I should look at reviews for potential mechanics on the BBB website.

    • Rebecca Gardner | July 13, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      I love your idea to look for displayed certificates that show how long the mechanic has been in business. My husband wants to buy a diesel truck to transport his work materials, so he’ll need to find a good, knowledgeable mechanic in our area to provide the needed service and maintenance for the truck. Following your tips should help him find a mechanic he feels confident about, so thanks for sharing!

    • Zoe Campos | June 9, 2020 at 12:27 am

      Thank you for reminding me that I need to check reviews posted on the BBB before letting an auto shop or mechanic handle my vehicle. It’s quite an old vehicle but I’m still keeping it and driving it around because of sentimental reasons, but it requires me now to have the auto glass replaced. I’ll keep your tips in mind and start looking for some auto shops that offer this kind of service.

    • Kristofer Van Wagner | June 2, 2020 at 5:55 am

      My brother and his wife just moved to a new town and they need a mechanic to help service their cars. I like that this post advised us to hire AAA-certified mechanics as it comes with credentials. I will pass this tip to my brother and hopefully, he will be informed.

    • rachel frampton | May 12, 2020 at 3:28 am

      My car’s transmission is starting to leak, that’s why I’ve been thinking of bringing my vehicle into an auto repair service. I guess you’re right’ I must not decide right away, furthermore, I must ask people such as my neighbors, family, and friends for recommendations. Also, I agree with you that I must not choose an auto repair shop based on the price alone, and of course, I’ll also keep in mind to check their rates in Better Business Bureau.

    • Zoe Campos | May 11, 2020 at 3:40 am

      It’s good to know that we can just visit the Better Business Bureau if we want to know if there are any good reviews, complaints, and accreditations with a certain auto body shop. I just recently bought my first car last month and since I invested a lot in it, I want to be able to find a place where I can take it permanently for repair. I’ll follow your advice and look for businesses that have been around for a while now within our area.

    • britt wall | April 3, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      I appreciate that you mentioned that we could have some peace of mind knowing that our mechanic is properly certified. We want to find a mechanic but aren’t sure who to hire. We need to find one because our car won’t start. To be sure that we are hiring the right one, I will be sure to check their certifications.

    • JANUS | February 28, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      As usual very helpful post. You look at the situation to achieve your goal with full spectrum. I can only thank you for your work.

    • Tammie Houston | November 15, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      My son has been complaining that he has been in and out of the gasoline station because of the pressure of his tires. It is said here that asking reference from family and friends is a good option in searching for a mechanic to work with our vehicle. Moreover, it is highly advisable to hire a certified tire service provider to regularly maintain the overall components of the car and most especially the tires to avoid incidents down the road.

    • Callum Palmer | October 22, 2019 at 2:40 am

      I’m looking to get some car repair done on my vehicle. As you said, there are some tips I should follow to ensure I get the right repairs done. I’ll take note of the shops that have ASE-certified technicians as I think that will be my best bet.

    • Reed Johnson | September 24, 2019 at 5:15 am

      I actually have some fans on a facebook page related to this stuff. I’ll share your post with them and see what they have to say. I’m sure they’ll love it though.

      • Extra Mile Staff | September 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm

        Thanks for sharing, Reed!

    • Richard Taylor | September 10, 2019 at 11:03 am

      Referrals and reviews on online forums have worked well for me, so far. I would suggest everyone to go with these methods. Good article nonetheless.

    • Robert Thompson | July 25, 2019 at 5:52 am

      What a great article. I certainly learned a thing or two from reading it. This won’t be the last time I will visit your site, and I wish a few more people would write great content rather than a bit of a re-hash. I think if you have an email list, your followers must be drooling while waiting for your next piece.

    • Jake Roberts | July 24, 2019 at 7:38 am

      This is probably the most “it actually makes sense” kind of post I’ve seen on on this subject. Best part… I didn’t have to go digging through some weird web design to find it. Awesome! PLEASE keep posting new material! Thanks!

    • Brooklyn Johnson | June 22, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      I like how you stated that you should check with the Better Business Bureau when looking for an auto shop. My car needs to be inspected, and I don’t know where to take it. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind when looking for an auto service.

    • Brooklyn Johnson | June 20, 2019 at 7:12 pm

      I like how you stated that you should ask your neighbors, family, and friends for recommendations when looking for an auto service. I recently got into an accident and need to get my car repaired. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind when looking for a suitable auto repair shop to fix my car.

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 25, 2019 at 1:05 pm

        Thank you, Brooklyn.

    • Daphne Gilpin | June 3, 2019 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks for the tip to look for stickers or plaques about how long each mechanic has been in business. My husband and I have an RV, but the brakes have been making a squealing noise lately. I’m glad I read your article because now I know how to find a good mechanic for the job.

      • Extra Mile Staff | June 4, 2019 at 11:16 am

        Thanks for reading, Daphne. For some tips on how to retire on the road, take a look at our article here.

    • easton | March 26, 2019 at 7:58 pm

      I like the tip that you gave to ask your family and friends if they know of a mechanic who they could refer you to. My wife and I have been talking about finding a mechanic to replace her headlight, and it would be important for us to know that we can trust in who we choose to hire. If we decide to hire a mechanic, I will be sure to look for referrals from my family and friends.

      • Extra Mile Staff | March 27, 2019 at 12:48 pm

        Thank you for reading, Easton!

    • Rosie Beckett | December 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      I have noticed some strange noises coming from the brakes in my car when I come to a complete stop and because it is winter time and the roads are icy, I need to get them fixed as soon as possible. I am trying to find a quality auto repair shop and you make a great point that I should look ask family and friends for recommendations because I know that they will be honest in their review of the quality of service they received. Also, I think that it might be a good idea to visit potential shops because this way I can see if the staff is friendly and professional before I hire them.

    • Taylor Anderson | December 13, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      I love how you pointed out that one should ask their friends and family for auto mechanic recommendations, as they will most likely recommend those that have given them great service. My friend’s mother actually drives a school bus and it needs to be looked at. These tips could help her find a great mechanic, so thank you for sharing them.

      • Extra Mile Staff | December 13, 2018 at 9:18 pm

        Thank you for your feedback, Taylor!

    • Olivia Pearson | November 14, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      I appreciate how you mentioned that a sign of a trustworthy automotive repair shop is how long they have been in business. My friend is thinking of starting up his own shipping business and owning a commercial truck fleet, but isn’t sure how to go about managing the repairs and maintenance. If he does end up starting his own company, I’ll have to recommend that he find an experienced commercial truck repair company in his area that he can count on for any repairs so that his business can run efficiently and properly.

      • Extra Mile Staff | November 14, 2018 at 10:12 pm

        Olivia, we appreciate your feedback! Thank you.

    • Easton Memmott | October 15, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      I like the tip you gave to look for an auto service that has been around for a while. My car’s tires need to be rotated, and I want to make sure that I can get a reliable service. I will be sure to look for an auto service that has been around for a while, so I can know that I can trust their services.

    • Easton Memmott | October 15, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      I like the tip you gave to make sure that your mechanic has experience working with your type of vehicle. My transmission is out, and I need to fix it soon because I need to drive to work in the morning. I will be sure to look for a mechanic who has experience with my specific type of vehicle, so they will be able to offer the best level of service.

    • James Lee Tucker | June 7, 2018 at 6:02 am

      I like your tip about choosing an auto repair shop that has been in the business for long years. We just moved to this city, and I’m looking for a repair shop in case my car needs breaks down. I’ll go around town today and find which repair shop is well-established.

    • Chloe Sanchez | June 5, 2018 at 6:06 am

      I noticed that my car has been quickly running out of petrol which is weird considering it’s supposed to have a good mileage. And based on your pointers, it would seem that I should talk to my mechanic about it asap. I like your tip about trying a minor job first before moving right away into a new auto repair shop. Thanks!

    • Joseph Martin | May 2, 2018 at 5:55 am

      Right when your auto needs repairment just take a gander at the issue and if the issue is minor basically try to settle everything alone and in case it go to a honest to goodness by then reliably searches for the help from the proffessionalists which offers genuine organization and extras you from unneccessarily costs.

    • Derek Dewitt | April 9, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      My wife and I recently moved to a new area, so we are looking for a mechanic in town to inspect our car. I like your point about choosing a shop that is certified by the American Automobile Association. This would prove to me they can safely handle any repair, so I’ll be sure to ask about this.

    • Lary Cook | March 23, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      In addition to all the above-listed pointers, a factor that has to be given a significant consideration is to check whether the mechanics or the company are licensed, insured and bonded. And also, if they offer 100% customer satisfaction.

    • Deb Pearl | March 2, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      My car keeps squeaking every time I use my brakes and I have been wondering how I can find a good mechanic to take a look at them. Thank you for all the tips on how to find a good mechanic. I think it would be a good idea to ask around and see if anyone knows a mechanic.

    • Alice George | January 17, 2018 at 10:48 am

      After purchasing a car, the important thing is to choose a trustworthy mechanic for repairing purpose. Well some tips to find a trustworthy mechanic are Ask your friend for suggestion which auto shop they are visiting. You can check for a good mechanic also in online.Look up ASE and manufacturer-certified shops. Check their BBB rating standards. These are the main thing while choosing an trustworthy mechanic.

    • Persephone de Vito | January 16, 2018 at 6:44 am

      I definitely agree with you that longevity was one of the things to look at when hiring an auto mechanic. Like you said, if other customers weren’t satisfied with the way they were treated, the business would have been long gone. Once I begin looking for a shop to take my car to, I’ll make sure to remember the tips that you gave. I have a BMW that my dad has given me a few years ago and now it’s needing brake repairs. Since this will be the first time that it needs repairs, I need help finding a good mechanic. This article will help me a lot. Thanks so much!

    • Marc | January 12, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      I loved when you mentioned how you should check with the BBB when looking for a good mechanic in your area. It is always a good idea to remember that doing this and reading online reviews can also help you find the best shop where your vehicle can be cared for. As I see it, taking the time to do some research and compare several mechanics can help you find the best one that knows how to work with vehicles like yours.

    • Michael Robinson | January 11, 2018 at 1:33 am

      Thanks again for the information listed here on asking your neighbors, family, and friends about auto repairs. Just like you said, family-owned shops are more dedicated to good customer service and might be better for you. My son is looking to take his car to a shop, and I think that he should ask his friends who are into detailing their cars about where he should take his car. Thanks again!

    • Ridley Fitzgerald | January 9, 2018 at 1:00 am

      I love your tips for finding a mechanic. Asking some of our new neighbors is a great idea because they all have cars too! We just moved, so I’ll start asking around for the best shop.

    • Kylie Dotts | December 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      I like your recommendation to talk to your auto insurance provider so they can give you some recommendations on which auto repair service to take your car to. We have a car that just broke down not long ago and we are going to need to get it fixed before the new year. It had never occurred to us to talk to our insurance agent, so we’ll have to see who they recommend and do some research.

    • Marcus | December 7, 2017 at 11:40 pm

      I totally agree with you in that it is always a good idea to check with the BBB in order to find the best mechanic for your needs. it is important to understand that doing some research and compare several companies can help you find the best one for your vehicle. My brother was talking about how he was trying to find a good mechanic that could help him maintain his new BMW, so I’ll share your page with him.

    • Charlie Gray | November 29, 2017 at 7:09 am

      I have been trusting my vehicles with Japanese Auto Masters in Virginia Beach for about a decade now and never had an issue!

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