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Are you in Good Hands?
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When you sign on with a new mechanic you’re putting both your money and your safety into his or her hands. Here’s a road map to making a good choice.

Did You Know?

38% of consumers believe they’ve been overcharged for auto repairs.
25% say their problems weren’t fixed properly.
30% of women have left shops feeling that mechanics took advantage of them because of their gender.

1. Do a 60-second eyeball testScan the shop for the signs of a pro. Awards and credentials on the walls? The AAA inspection sticker? The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is the industry standard—is it prominently displayed? Is there a Better Business Bureau seal of approval? Is the place organized? These signs point to a place running on all cylinders. Read more...▼

2. Confirm your mechanic’s reputationFind somebody you trust who can steer you to a mechanic. If there are no referrals from friends or family, go online to find reviews and reports on yelp.com or on car forums dedicated to your car’s make and model. Focus on customer comments.

3. Take a test driveTest local shops by taking your car in for minor maintenance like oil changes and tune-ups. If they put a real effort into a small job, chances are they’ll offer you similar services for something more serious…and expensive.

4. Get a second opinionGetting an estimate is a no-brainer. But once you have it in hand, head to another shop to find out what they’d charge for similar work. If the estimates are close, they’re probably accurate. If it’s a radically different story, consult a third source.

If your car is still under warranty, you can also have it serviced at your dealer. It may cost a little more, but the parts are made for your car, the work is guaranteed, and the mechanic’s specially trained to take care of it. They’ll also complete your owner’s manual log, fulfilling your maintenance requirements and keeping your warranty current.

And remember it's best to maintain your car so you can steer clear from having it go into the shop.