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Finding a reliable mechanic isn't as hard as you think

Here's what you can do to find an auto repair shop you trust.

We hear an awful lot about lying lawyers, untrustworthy accountants and unscrupulous insurance salesmen. But one of the most mistrusted professions out there is the auto mechanic.

According to a recent survey, two-thirds of U.S. drivers don't trust auto repair shops. And one-third say they don’t have a mechanic they feel confident taking their car to.

What are their complaints?

  • Recommendations for unnecessary services
  • Overcharging
  • Negative interactions
  • And concerns that work won’t be done properly

Be that as it may, no matter how you feel about mechanics, odds are you’re going to need one — and likely at inopportune moments.

Here’s what you can do to find a mechanic you trust:

  • Ask family and friends for recommendations. Since so few people trust repair shops, chances are if someone is willing to vouch for one, there’s a good reason.
  • Find out how long a shop under consideration has been in business, as this can be a good indicator of their reliability.
  • Check into a shop’s consumer complaints with the Better Business Bureau, state department of consumer affairs or the attorney general’s office.
  • Take your car for a minor job like an oil change or tire rotation and see how they do with that as a test for how they’d handle a major one.
  • While you’re there, inspect the shop’s appearance, amenities, technician credentials, and parts and labor warranty.
  • Once you’ve made a selection, build a relationship with a technician so they get to know your vehicle and your personal needs.

Car trouble can be highly stressful, so do your homework. Take the initiative to find a mechanic you’re comfortable with before your car has a breakdown — so that you don’t.