You can’t blame everything on the mechanic. A lot of the responsibility rests with you, the motorist, and there are plenty of things you can do to make car repair as painless as possible for you and your mechanic. Here are some tips on how to find a mechanic:
Be selective: Although it is not required, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence tests the knowledge of automobile mechanics in eight areas, from engine performance to brakes to heating and air conditioning.
Once you do find out what’s wrong with your car, try to find a mechanic certified in your area. Certification must be renewed every five years. Certification is not a guarantee though. Being able to pass a multiple-choice test on a subject is not necessarily the same as being able to do the work in real life.
Be descriptive: Be as detailed as possible when describing what the car is doing wrong or what noise it is making. Don’t assume you know what the problem is and don’t assume a tuneup is the answer. If you can, take the car out for a test drive ride with the mechanic.
Be timely: Take your car in for regular checkups. That can help stop a problem before it becomes a big and expensive pain.
Be patient: You may be lucky and have your car diagnosed and fixed quickly, but chances are it will take hours or even days to get to the root of a serious problem. After you find a mechanic, give him plenty of time to search for clues.
Be flexible: Don’t expect to be handed a written estimate for repair work every time. Because diagnosing the problem is half the battle, it’s usually half the cost of the repair and can’t be predicted.
Be supportive: When you find a mechanic you trust, stick with him and tell him you want him to be your regular mechanic. He’ll probably put a little extra elbow grease into fixing your car.