How to Find a Quality Auto Shop and Get the Most From Your Mechanic

5 easy steps to create a beneficial and positive relationship with your auto mechanic.

mechanic consults with customer in repair shop, picture
Forging a relationship with your mechanic can pay off.
Syda Productions / Shutterstock

Find the right auto shop.

A reliable repair shop makes all the difference. Search for a dependable one online with the AAA Shop Locator, where you'll find easy-to-access information on AAA Owned and Operated Auto Repair Centers in the West. Far from home? AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities are located across the country.

Build a relationship with your mechanic.

Once you've found a good repair shop, stick with it, even for minor maintenance. A trustworthy technician who knows you and your vehicle is your best source of advice on what needs to get done.

Talk about the future.

If you have one job under way and you'd like to know whether your vehicle needs any preventive work, tell the shop how long you plan to keep the car and what your maintenance budget is. It may be that if you spend a little extra now, you could save a bundle down the line.

Describe, don't diagnose.

Is your car coughing? Wheezing? Whining? Smoking? Describe the problem in as much detail as possible without speculating about the cause. Leave it to your technician to determine the ailment and prescribe the cure.

Get a backup ride.

If your vehicle is out of commission but you still need to get around, an Approved Auto Repair shop can help get you a temporary ride.


This article was first published in June 2016 and last updated in February 2019.