How to find a good auto mechanic

Finding good mechanics in high-tech times is tough. Given the complexity of today’s vehicles, many motorists, including former do-it-yourselfers, are looking for professional technicians as “tune-ups” have become “engine performance diagnoses” and on-board computer systems, electronic climate control , anti-lock brakes, digital dash boards, and other advanced systems grow popular. The following tips from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) should make finding a qualified automotive technician easier.

  • Ask a number of friends or business associates for recommendations.
  • Be sure to call your local consumer organization and inquire about the reputation of the place of business in question.
  • Look for a relatively neat, well-organized facility with up-to-date equipment and polite service personnel willing to discuss your repairs and answer your questions.
  • Policies concerning diagnostic fees, labor rates, guarantees and other policies should be posted.
  • Check around for an auto technician certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

ASE, a national, non-profit organization, certifies automotive technicians by means of nationally administered tests. Technicians voluntarily take these competency When describing your vehicle’s problem(s), be concrete, but resist the temptation to diagnoseexams in up to eight automobile specialties, such as Engine Repair, Brakes, etc. Those who pass and fulfill the hands-on work experience requirement are awarded ASE credentials attesting their competency.

ASE-certified technicians usually wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of expertise, while employers often display their technicians’ credentials in the customer waiting area. Consumers should look for facilities that display the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence logo on outdoor signs, in the customer waiting area, in the Yellow Pages, and in other advertisements.

Officials with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence remind motorists that their involvement can help ensure successful automotive repair. Some important recommendations to consumers are:

  • Read your owner’s manual.
  • Become familiar with the basic components and systems.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s service schedules.
  • Make note of noises, unusual odors, changes in performance, and handling.
  • When describing your vehicle’s problem(s), be concrete, but resist the temptation to diagnose.
  • Have small problems repaired before they become major headaches.
  • Keep good records

And on a final note, if you are ever in doubt if a repair facility is being up front with you, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion as to the recommendation or estimate by seeing another shop or simply posting your question to a consumer discussion Web site.

Matt Brubaker See all posts by this author
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