How To Not Get Hosed By An Auto Mechanic
The condition of the cars on the lot and the layout of the bill are two things that can tip you off as to whether your auto mechanic might try to take you for a ride.
By Matt Christensen
Because our legs can’t move 70 mph and jetpacks are still so damn expensive, most of us are stuck relying on cars for transportation. And since cars are slightly more difficult to fix than the old Model T Fords, you’re at the mercy of an auto mechanic when your car breaks down. If you find a quality mechanic, you’re paying for parts, service, and labor. Find a scuzzy grease monkey and you’re paying for parts, service, labor, lottery tickets, a dozen packs of smokes, and a portion of his gambling debt.
Soo help you avoid being dumping hundreds of even thousands of dollars into the pockets of some crooked mechanic’s jumpsuit, we asked two experts for some car advice for guys — Adam Docimo, partner at Fairfield Tire & Auto Center in Fairfield, Conn. and Michael Miller, president and owner or Arlington Car Care in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks to their tips, you’ll be schooled on how to spot a good auto mechanic from a lemon.
TIP #1: CHECK FOR EXPERIENCE, NOT JUST CERTIFICATIONS
Most car mechanics are ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified. And all certifications should be prominently displayed in the lobby or garage waiting room. But it’s the same as a personal trainer — a fancy piece of paper doesn’t necessarily make them knowledgeable or exceptional.
“Not all my auto technicians are certified,” Docimo explains. “The ultimate goal for any car mechanic looking to be the best on paper is the status of an ASE Master Technician. But it’s more important to look for a mechanic with a reliable reputation and a good rapport.” Miller agrees. “Certifications are important,” he says, “But so is the level of experience and their actual service record.”
How the hell do you find that out? Visiting Yelp and the Better Business Bureau is a good start. But a true test is to see what the locals are saying. Try calling up a local cab or limo company and asking them which garages they use for their fleets.