Cars need maintenance routinely, whether you drive frequent, long miles or just to work and home. Oil changes, worn out parts and dirty filters pop up constantly, and finding the right mechanic to fix your vehicle can help you avoid headaches. Exorbitantly priced parts and labor after the job’s done can be a nightmare, but it can happen. It’s hard to know exactly what work on your car should cost versus what a shop is charging you. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for a mechanic to take care of those fixes, big or small.
First and foremost, word of mouth is the best way to find out whether a mechanic knows what they’re talking about. Checking reviews on Google, Facebook or other sites that review a particular shop are a good starting point, but can focus only on the negative. Taking the advice of people you trust can help you make a more informed opinion on a mechanic. Some people’s experiences might be the result of an isolated incident, so take individual situations with a grain of salt.
Going in for a quick fix like an oil change can help you get in the door and meet the people behind the shop. A basic oil change should cost between $20 to $55 depending on the shop and inspections included. If the price was higher than that, or the shop aggressively tried to sell you more services while you were there, it might be a sign to look for a different mechanic. It’s not unusual for smaller local mechanic to throw in services for free to entice you to come back again. This is a good sign that they appreciate your ongoing business, not just a one-time transaction.
Check Manuals and Message Boards
Manuals written by Haynes, Chilton or the dealer may give you an insight into how much a part should cost. Be sure to search online to see how much new and aftermarket parts are going for. Message boards about your specific make and model might exist as well, which can give you a better idea of what people paid for similar work. Calling ahead armed with this information may also help you get the best deal, or see how often they deal with your particular type of car.