When you need an auto repair technician to look at a problem, it makes a big difference to find the right shop for the job. There are a handful of things you can do, though, to ensure you find an auto repair service provider that's prepared to help. The following three tips are useful whenever you need to find a mechanic.
Know Your Vehicle's Year, Make and Model
This is important information regardless of the type of car you have. Year means the model year, make refers to the brand of the car, and model refers to the name of the vehicle. For example, for a 2015 Hyundai Sonata, the year would be 2015, the make would be Hyundai, and the model would be Sonata. Some models may include additional information, such as a label like "SE" or "XS." This information is nice to include, if you know it, but far from essential.
Make is by far the biggest issue when choosing an auto repair shop to handle a problem. The most widely seen makes, such as Ford, Chevy, and Toyota, are usually serviced everywhere. Specialization, however, is more common with European cars, luxury brands, and very unusual makes. If your ride fits into one of those categories, don't assume every garage can deal with its issues.
Check for Recalls
Another big concern to check for before going to a shop is any outstanding recalls from the manufacturer. The main reason to search for these is that recall repairs have to be performed at approved garages, usually ones operated by dealerships. Also, it's a good idea to eliminate the possibility that some component is replaceable under a recall before you try to address other problems. If you're curious about potential recalls, you can check for them using Carfax's online tool for vehicle owners.
Know What a Mechanic Can Do
Most shops clearly advertise the kinds of services they offer. The vast majority handle basic tasks, such as handling oil changes, fixing brake systems, recharging A/C units, and other similar tasks. Engine work is also a fairly common offering. More complex and specialized work, such as rebuilding or replacing a transmission, may not be on the menu, especially at smaller and less-equipped shops.
It's best to simply ask what work a business can do. If a problem isn't within their means, professionals will refer you to a shop they know that can do the job.