7 On Your Side

How do you find an honest mechanic?

Monday, November 14, 2011

A good auto mechanic is important, but hard to find. So how do you find a reliable auto shop?

There are few things more frustrating than spending good money on a car repair and getting a sloppy job in return. So let's look at ways to spot a good shop before you hand over your cash.

Auto repair shops are coming under scrutiny from Consumer's Checkbook -- a non-profit survey of services.

"We evaluated CheckBook.org, more than 550 auto repair shops in the Bay Area," said Robert Krughoff from CheckBook.org.

The good news is there are hundreds of well-managed and consumer friendly shops in the Bay Area. The bad news, one of them might not be yours.

To find the best look for those who give a written estimate before the work begins. And for those that jump at the chance to fix a problem once the work is done. An insider trick to finding a good shop is to look for those offering more than one way to do things.

"Talking to you about your alternatives is very important and that also reveals the level of candor and honesty of an auto repair shop," said Krughoff.

"So you call them up and tell them what you found and say, 'This is important, this can wait, what did you have in mind? Are you going to keep the car forever or is this something that you might trade in, in a year or two?' We have a little give and take and ultimately, they decide what they want to do and that's what we do," said Paul Cowden, the owner of San Francisco's Cowden Automotive.

We have a link to checkbook.org on our website. Also there are free online services that estimate your car repair costs before you go into the shop.

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auto industry, 7 on your side, michael finney
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