How to Identify a Dishonest Mechanic: What Car Owners Should Know

mechanic statue holding a wrench

When was the last time you had to look for a new mechanic? (If you’re reading this, we’re betting you’re thinking about making a switch right now.) Life changes like shops closing, mechanics retiring, or moving to a new city can force you into looking before you’re ready. The last thing you want to do is rely on a Google search to potentially make major repairs to your car.

It’s tough to find a reputable mechanic from scratch. How do you know if they’re making something up, like blinker fluid or a Johnson Rod (if you’re a Seinfeld fan)? Check out these tips below to help you with your search.


Red Flag: Mechanics are Pushy and Unwilling to Explain Repairs

A good mechanic is more than willing to explain things in layman’s terms. From the viewpoint of the customer, mechanics sometimes speak in overly-technical terms (we’re used to it, sorry) but an honest mechanic will be happy to explain them in simpler language. If they can’t or won’t, it might be a sign that they’re trying to take advantage. Be sure to get an itemized list of your repairs, in case anything goes wrong.


Problems with Pricing

The internet is a good place to compare the costs of equipment, just remember that those prices do not include the mechanic’s time. Sure, you can buy car parts off the internet yourself, but do you know how to install it? Do you have the tools you’ll need to get the job done? These are factors that add to the cost. Think of it like a restaurant: you can buy the ingredients to make a souffle pretty easily. But do you have the right equipment? And if you do, would you be able to pull it off?

Another tip when researching pricing: make sure you’re comparing the right parts. A car has over 30,000 individual parts, some of which are similarly named. It’s easy to make a simple mistake.


Unnecessary Credentials

Watch out for shops with an unreasonable number of accreditations. Nationally recognized affiliations are great, but there are a ton of certifications that a mechanic can boast. Look for ASE-certified technicians and a positive BBB rating. Affiliated banner programs from reputable companies like CarQuest or NAPA are also great (say, being a NAPA GOLD Certified, for example).


Online Reviews

Just as you might check the reviews of a hairstylist or dentist before you choose one, reading online reviews is a great way to learn more about a mechanic. Remember that with any company, there are bound to be a few people who had a bad day or didn’t like their service for a reason or another and decided to leave a bad review. The overall reviews will give you a good feel for the shop.

Extra tip: check to see if a mechanic or shop responds to reviews: both good and bad. Do they offer contact information for customers to follow up on? A dishonest mechanic won’t want to explain themselves or offer a chance to reconnect.


At Advanced Repair, we take our reputation very seriously. We follow a strict code of ethics and strive to make sure each of our customers is satisfied with our work. Contact us to learn more.

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