A good mechanic can help keep your car running longer and save you money on repairs. However, finding a decent, reliable garage to look after your car can be harder than you might think.
If you are in need of a new mechanic and unsure where to start, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips for finding the best garage in your area.
Ask your friends and family members where they take their cars for repairs in your local area and why. If the same business keeps coming up with positive feedback, it’s probably safe to assume it’s both reliable and fairly-priced.
Online forums are a great place to ask for local recommendations. Anyone who has had major problems with a garage may have taken to the internet to share their experiences. Also on specialist car forums, you could also potentially encounter someone who has had the problem you are faced with. Perhaps take advantage of this, if they seem like a reputable source. Ask for advice on how much the problem cost to fix and how long the repair took, to help with your own research.
It’s possible to get an idea of how much a service or repair is likely to cost before a mechanic even looks at your car. If you know roughly what needs doing, websites such as ClickMechanic allow you to obtain quotes from garages in your area, so you have a good idea of how much to budget for particular repairs or services.
If you’re unsure of exactly how much needs doing and how long your repairs will take, call around a few garages to ask about their hourly rates, though bear in mind completion times will vary slightly. Always check if VAT is included in the price quoted. Legally, the garage should tell you, but if overlooked you could end up with a heftier bill than anticipated!
Make sure quality isn’t being compromised in return for a low price. The average cost, according to the Money Advice Service, of a car repair is £125, so if the price of a garage seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Many garages now offer deals like free services and ‘service bundles’ to entice more customers. Motorists could see big savings, but what may not be clear is many of these services do not include things such as tyres or brake pads, so you could still be stung by additional costs.
At Warranty Direct we offer a Preferred Repairer Network, consisting of over 3,000 specially selected garages, helping you find a dependable local business. These garages can either be a main dealer or independent.
For inclusion, all nominated garages must meet and agree to a 43-point service level agreement before they can join our Preferred Repairer Network. These garages are highly professional, experienced and also accountable for work undertaken, so customers can be sure they are leaving their cars in safe hands.
You can also check if the garage is part of any reputable industry schemes, such as The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) who accredits professionally trained technicians or The Motor Ombudsman, which sets garages a code of conduct and operational standard.
Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable and make sure your mechanic shows you exactly what the problem is and the parts affected. A reputable mechanic should be willing to do whatever it takes to put you at ease and gain your confidence.
Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075