As winter approaches, now is a great time to start thinking about car maintenance so you’re prepared for the changing season. Bringing your car to a mechanic can be confusing, overwhelming and even intimidating. To help make the experience positive without expensive headaches, there are a few simple things to consider.
Signs of a quality mechanic
Finding a good mechanic is as important as finding a good car insurance broker. However, finding one can be harder than you might think. Luckily, BrokerLink is here to offer advice on ways to ensure that you find a quality automotive professional near you. Keep reading to discover the telltale signs of a good mechanic:
The mechanic asks questions about your vehicle
A telltale sign of a good mechanic is if they ask you several questions about your car. Of course, any mechanic should ask the basics, such as: What is the model and model of your car? However, a great mechanic will ask several other questions, like:
Why do you want to bring your vehicle into the shop?
Before you agree to hire a certain mechanic, the person should ask why you want to make an appointment. If it isn’t for routine maintenance, the mechanic should then ask follow-up questions about what’s wrong with the car, such as if you notice any strange sounds or a different feeling when you drive.
When did you start to notice that something was off with your car?
A good mechanic should not only ask what symptoms you’ve noticed but also when the symptoms began, as this can help them when repairing your vehicle
Have you ever had this issue before, and if so, what work did a mechanic do?
Again, a good mechanic will ask detailed questions about your vehicle’s history, such as if you’ve ever noticed the issue before, or other issues that may be related. From there, they should ask questions about the specific work that you had done to fix the issues, including what mechanic or auto body shop performed the fix, how long ago the repair occurred, and whether you have any records that outline the details of the repair.
The auto body shop is professional and responsive
Another sign of a good mechanic is if they are professional and responsive. When you are giving any company your business, it’s important to feel valued and taken care of. An auto body shop that treats its customers professionally and with respect, which includes responding to inquiries in a timely manner and communicating regularly throughout the repair process, is an excellent sign. If you visit the auto body shop in person, take note of the shop’s physical appearance, i.e. how clean the waiting room is. If you decide to phone the repair shop, consider how long it takes for someone to pick up or call you back and how well they are able to answer your questions.
The mechanic is passionate about their job
If the mechanic is passionate about their job, this is yet another excellent sign. It’s always better to work with someone excited about their job than someone who is apathetic. Passionate people are more likely to take better care of your car. So, if you find a passionate mechanic, you can bet that they will work hard to make your car run like new again.
The mechanic can clearly explain the cause of the issue
One final indication that someone is a good mechanic is if they can clearly explain what went wrong with your car. Although the top priority is finding someone to fix your car, they should also be able to explain to you exactly what went wrong, how they fixed it, and how you can avoid the same issue from recurring in the future. This is not only good customer service but will help you down the line, especially if there are steps you can take to ensure the same problem doesn’t arise again.
Tips to help you find a mechanic to repair your car
Do your research
Protecting yourself and your car starts before you actually arrive at the garage. Do as much research as possible. Your owner’s manual has valuable information about maintenance. Having a basic understanding of your car and its needs can be a huge asset when discussing repairs or negotiating cost. It can also prevent you from falling for “easy solutions” offered by some garages, such as certain fluid flushes or cleaning your fuel injectors. Some repairs don’t need to be done unless your car has covered significant distance, and others you may be able to do yourself. Your car maintenance manual can offer suggested changes based on kilometres driven to help understand what needs to be replaced and when.
Part of your homework should involve shopping for a mechanic. Ask friends, coworkers or family for recommendations. Check online reviews to get an idea of what different mechanics offer and be sure to read customer feedback. Don’t feel you need to commit to the first garage you visit. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion, especially since car maintenance can be expensive. A good mechanic is confident in their work and will never talk you out of getting another opinion.
When you first arrive, look around the garage for certification or proof of qualifications. A good mechanic wants to gain their customers’ trust and will have certifications or industry affiliations openly displayed. If you don’t see them, ask your mechanic for proof of credentials. Treat your visit as an interview between business professionals and get as much information as you need before agreeing to any work.
Ask about the mechanic’s experience with your car’s make
Although all mechanics should be licensed, that may not be enough. When on the hunt for a good mechanic, prioritize finding one that has a track record or specific expertise with your make of car. Since different automakers manufacture their vehicles differently, hiring a mechanic who has fixed other cars of the same make can increase the odds that they do a good job.
Get recommendations from family and friends
There’s nothing as valuable as word of mouth, even with the advent of the internet and online reviews. So if you’re struggling to find a reliable mechanic in your area, reach out to friends, neighbours, and family members to see if they have anyone worth recommending. Conversely, by doing this, you may learn about poor experiences they’ve had with certain mechanics, allowing you to steer clear of them.
Check online reviews
Another piece of advice to help you find a quality mechanic is to check the reviews online. Start by typing something like mechanics near me or auto body shops near me into Google. From there, Google will populate a list of repair shops in your area, and you can click on each to read their reviews. Ideally, you want to find an auto body shop with a rating of 4.0 or above and one with lots of reviews. While there are always going to be a few unsatisfied customers, if most of the reviews are positive, it’s probably a good sign.
Visit the auto body shop’s social media page
Nowadays, social media is a valuable resource when it comes to researching businesses. So if you want to know more about a certain mechanic or auto body shop near you, look them up on Facebook or Instagram. Not only may they post up-to-date information about their services on these pages, but you might be able to learn more about how they interact with their customers and what their customers think of them based on the reviews and comments.
Confirm that the mechanic is licensed
Before hiring a mechanic to fix your car anywhere in Canada, you must first make sure that they are licensed. They should be certified in the province that you live in. For example, in Ontario, all mechanics need to be licensed in order to work. Thus, it’s unlikely that any mechanic you reach out to will be unlicensed, but it’s still worth asking for a copy of their licence.
Most mechanics post their licences somewhere visible in the auto body shop. Another way to make sure a certain repair shop is certified is to visit the CAA website, where they have a list of their Approved Auto Repair Services (AARS). Only repair shops that meet the strict CAA standards, which include licensing and fair pricing, will appear on this list. We also recommend confirming that the auto body shop in question has garage insurance.
Speak with the mechanic directly
If you aren’t sure about working with a certain mechanic, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and schedule a chat. After all, you are entrusting them with fixing your vehicle. Not only are vehicle repairs expensive but you rely on your car to get around. Thus, you shouldn’t hire just anyone. To determine whether a certain mechanic is the right fit, talking to them directly, either over the phone or in person, can help.
Find out if the mechanic offers repairs on your vehicle
When hiring a mechanic for your car, one of the first steps you should take after narrowing down your list of potential candidates is to phone around and find out which ones offer repairs on your vehicle. The reality is that not all mechanics are qualified to work on all makes and models of cars. For example, some mechanics may not have the necessary licencing to work on electric cars or cars with unique engines, like diesel or European engines.
Compare the mechanic’s pricing with the average cost of the repair
To confirm you’re getting a competitive price for your vehicle repair, which is another sign of a good mechanic, it is recommended that you compare the quote you receive with the average cost of such a repair. You can find out the average cost of common repairs by searching online. Just make sure to search the average cost in your specific city or province, as costs can vary greatly between provinces and countries.
Inquire about warranties
One last tip to help you find a good mechanic in Canada is to ask about warranties. Some auto body shops in Canada offer warranties for the services they provide, often lasting up to a year. With such a warranty, if the issue that the auto body shop fixed becomes a problem within the warranty period, you can bring your car back at no cost. Do some research and ask around to determine which mechanics or auto body shops near you offer a warranty and what terms and conditions those warranties are subject to.
Questions to ask before hiring a mechanic
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential mechanics, we recommend getting in touch and asking them the following questions. The answers they give to these questions can ultimately help you decide which mechanic to hire:
Why does my car need to be repaired?
You may have a general idea of the problem, such as your brakes aren’t working properly, but unless you have a background in cars, you likely don’t know what the specific problem is or what’s causing it. A mechanic will know this and should be willing to discuss it with you.
Plus, by asking them this question, you can gauge their expertise with vehicle repairs. Ask them to explain the problem, how they recommend fixing it, and why they recommend that specific type of repair. It’s also helpful to ask what might happen if you choose not to have your car repaired.
How much is the repair going to cost?
Of course, many decisions come down to money, and a car repair is no different. That is why asking for an estimate is so important. Don’t hesitate to ask prospective mechanics or auto body shops how much they plan to charge for the repair you need. You can even dig deeper and request a breakdown of how much each element of the repair costs, from the parts to the labour. If you are confused about anything on the invoice, ask them about it. Please note that you should be wary of mechanics who refuse to provide a quote upfront. Those who don’t offer quotes may be doing this to charge you more.
Insurance coverage and car repairs
After you’ve found a good mechanic and they have repaired your car, you may be wondering whether you are required to pay for the repair or if your insurance covers it. Car insurance in Toronto and elsewhere includes a wide range of coverages, many of which may cover you for vehicle repairs. A few types of coverage that can result in policyholders being reimbursed for the cost of having their vehicles repaired after a loss, such as a car accident, include:
Depending on the extent of the damage, your auto insurance plan may even cover the cost of calling a tow truck in addition to the repair needed afterward.
To find out if your car insurance coverage will pay for your repair, contact BrokerLink. A BrokerLink insurance advisor can also explain what types of coverage are mandatory in Ontario, including liability car insurance and accident benefits coverage.
Contact BrokerLink for more tips on finding a good car mechanic in Canada
If you’re having trouble finding a good car mechanic or want a recommendation for an auto body shop near you, don’t hesitate to check out our blog. We have a team of automotive experts at the ready to help you navigate the complex world of car insurance, including car repairs. Whether you’re looking for car maintenance tips for your road trip or safe driving tips, BrokerLink is here.
Plus, if you want to know how much car insurance costs per month in Ontario, all you have to do is ask! BrokerLink offers complimentary quotes to all customers. They are accurate, reliable, and completely obligation-free. You can request your free car insurance quote by contacting BrokerLink over the phone or visiting us in person. You can also take advantage of the online quote tool on our website that can give you a free quote in as little as five minutes.
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