It’s cliched but true—there are a lot of dishonest car mechanics around. Here are a few ways to tell if you—and your car—are in trustworthy hands.
An honest mechanic will give a signed work order with a specific estimate for each job and warranties that apply. If you are asked to sign a blank authorization form, it’s not a good sign.
As a consumer, it’s a good habit to ask your mechanic about what types of equipment and materials he uses. For example, synthetic oil costs more but it’s worth it, as you’ll get more miles between changes.
Don’t believe the hype
Unless you are having specific symptoms, such as rough idle or starting problems, cleaning fuel injectors are a waste of time and money. A good mechanic wants to serve—not scam—you.
Brakes are not for scrimping
Good mechanics use original equipment or the equivalent for brake pads. Otherwise, you’ll have junky friction material that could endanger you in a tight situation. In general, more and more cheap parts come from China, so no matter the repair request a name brand replacement and ask to see the box.
The fine print
Seem too good to be true? Your mechanic should tell you the build date of your new tires, so you know how old the tread is and why the discount may not be worth it.
Return to sender
A mechanic you trust will always give you your old parts back. That way you can tell that they’ve been changed and how worn they are.
Believes in the power of a test-drive
Test-driving your car as part of the routine gives your mechanic a wealth of valuable information about your car. Bonus points for mechanics who make test-driving part of their diagnostic routine.
Dumb it down
Good mechanics always explain repair phrases in accessible ways to laymen and give you choices. Make sure you understand the problem, and feel empowered in the decision-making process.