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Choosing The Right Auto Mechanic

If you’re like most people, you’re hugely dependent on your car for transportation — so you need to know that the person caring for your automobile is a) qualified, and b) trustworthy. Ask these questions of your local mechanics, and you’ll get a pretty good sense of where they stand.

Beware Of…

Checkmark-Iconshops that offer both diagnostics and repair — serious conflict of interest

Xmark-Icona shop that grossly underbids — may use untrained labor and cheap parts

Checkmark-Iconmechanics that don’t take the time to show you what is wrong with your car

Xmark-Iconmechanics who don’t answer your questions or try to rush you

Checkmark-Iconmechanics who have a problem with you asking for a second opinion

Xmark-Icona shop that has to fix the same problem multiple times

Checkmark-Icona garage that is exceptionally filthy or disorderly

Xmark-Icona garage where you can’t see the work area from the waiting area

Checkmark-Icondealerships — they almost always overcharge for minor repairs

Get A Referral

Xmark-Icontalk to friends, family, and colleagues about their experiences

Checkmark-Iconask about the mechanic’s competence, reliability, and honesty

Xmark-Iconbut don’t take a referral at face value — this is just the first step

Checkmark-Iconheck the Better Business Bureau for complaints about that mechanic

Xmark-Iconalso find out how long the mechanic has been in business

Training Certifications

Checkmark-Iconalways choose an ASE-Certified mechanic

Xmark-Iconthis certification is given by the National Institute For Automotive Service Excellence

Checkmark-Iconit involves a voluntary testing procedure that weeds out low-level mechanics

Xmark-Iconlook for other certificates and ask what classes the mechanic attends to stay up-to-date

Checkmark-Icongood mechanics take classes a year to keep up with latest technology

What To Ask

Xmark-Iconwhat brand of replacement parts does your shop use?

Checkmark-Iconhow much will this repair cost? is that a guaranteed price?

Xmark-Iconif your prices are not guaranteed, how much can they deviate?

Checkmark-Icondo you offer a lifetime or 60,000 mile guarantee on your work?

Xmark-Iconcan I have a tour of the garage or even watch while my work is done?

Checkmark-Icondo you offer a loaner car while mine is being worked on?

Xmark-Iconhow long will it take to do this repair? do you guarantee that estimate?

You Have To Protect Yourself

Checkmark-Iconask for a second opinion if you think something is off or wrong

Xmark-Iconget a technical manual and learn the basic parts of your car

Checkmark-Iconask questions and ask to be shown exactly what isn’t working

Xmark-Iconask to see the diagnostic read-out if it isn’t a visible malfunction

Checkmark-Icontake your car to an independent diagnostic shop for a checkup

Xmark-Icondon’t let a tow-truck driver talk you into his “favorite” mechanic

Checkmark-Iconget a written estimate first before you authorize any repairs

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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