We’ve all felt that pain as our wheels faded into the distance trailing behind a tow truck. You’ll probably have to take off work and rearrange your schedule to make time for the repairs. You might even have to ask your neighbor who always smells like cabbage if she’ll take your turn in the carpool. Maybe you’re just taking your car in to track down a weird sound. No matter why you’re taking your car there, you’re at the mercy of the mechanic. Unless you’re a closet grease monkey, you don’t know what’s wrong with your car. And, you don’t know whether your mechanic is being straight with you.
Look for credentials. Make sure your mechanic has the proper accreditation. Certificates are usually posted in the office area. Make sure they’re the real deal.
Are they going to charge you for the diagnosis? Most good mechanics won’t nickel-and-dime you with charges before work even begins.
Will they give you a written estimate? An itemized invoice?
Ask them what they’d do if it were their car.
Educate yourself about cars. Knowing what to ask and what to listen for in their answers is gold.
If you don’t like what you hear--and you can afford the time and the effort involved—you can always get a second opinion.
Do your homework and find a mechanic you trust, and then you won’t have to worry about being ripped off