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Old 06-01-2023, 12:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How do you find a good mechanic?

  1. The first mechanic I went to I needed a clutch replaced. After that the car's alignment was so bad it would bounce all around and by the time I figured it out (I was new to owning a car) the tires were to the metal bands. He fixed the alignment for free, I ended up buying tires from somewhere else.
  2. When I bought tires from another shop I went with brand new tires. But when looking at the tires afterwards I found that they were two different brands, not at all the same tires all the way around. I complained but they refused to do anything about it.
  3. My break lights went out and changing the bulbs and brake switch did nothing. It turns out that the 1984 Toyota Corolla I had also had a brake light controller in the trunk. I took it to a Toyota dealer and they took several hours and never fixed it and charged me $200 (this was in the 90's). I ended up asking around and found I could just get the part at a junk yard for $10 and swap it out myself, which I did.
  4. Another alignement in another car and they changed out some bolts that hold the shocks onto the steering knucles to do the alignment, which was standard proceedure on a 1985 VW Golf. But they used cheap week bolts that a week later had stripped themselves and were coming out! I didn't go back and will no longer go back for anything.
It seems everytime I go to a mechanic I have a bad experience. I'm just not sure who to trust. How do you find a good mechanic and keep a good relationship with him or her? I'm to the point I'm aligning my own cars with strings and levels and chaging and balancing my own tires. But there are things I just can't do anymore. I can't fix the radio in my Avalon. I can't change the brake fluid properly. There are probably a lot of other things I can't do.

That and there are things I would want the mechanic to do, but they have their own policy. Like when I want to use an OEM dealer part but the shops around will only install parts they buy from NAPA or Autozone. Sometimes I ask for something and they're like "Why would you want to do that? We never do that. Maybe try somewhere else."

Where do I go for help? SMA, Shadetree Mechanics Anonomous?

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Old 06-01-2023, 11:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 06-02-2023, 02:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 06-02-2023, 04:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I know DIY might be more of a PITA with some rather modern cars with many bells and whistles which sounded quite like a sci-fi pipedream when I was a kid, and maybe your friends won't be able to indicate you a mechanic you may see as good
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Old 06-02-2023, 11:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ah the joys of living in a small town with very limited resources and full of gossipy people having time on their hands. One reason I moved to Reno before it got discovered.

I can take the Golf back to the dealer and pay + $2,500 for competent yearly maintenance. Or I can use a local repair house for half that and worry they may be competent on a odd vehicle with weird requirements, or I can crawl around doing my own for the cost of parts. Hint: crawling around now leads to 2 days of forced recovery. Feel your pain about reliable reccomendations.

There are two fixes: move or become very rich.
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Old 06-06-2023, 02:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Finding a mechanic who does a good work at a more reasonable cost might be the most challenging aspect. When it comes to OEM parts vs the ones bought at NAPA or Autozone, as long as they're of a similar or better spec, I wouldn't be so strict about OEM in order to evaluate if a mechanic is good or bad.
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Old 06-06-2023, 02:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
Finding a mechanic who does a good work at a more reasonable cost might be the most challenging aspect. When it comes to OEM parts vs the ones bought at NAPA or Autozone, as long as they're of a similar or better spec, I wouldn't be so strict about OEM in order to evaluate if a mechanic is good or bad.
But what about parts you've had that the OEM lasted 20 or 30 years but the aftermarket one needs replacing at least once a year?
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Old 06-06-2023, 03:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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But what about parts you've had that the OEM lasted 20 or 30 years but the aftermarket one needs replacing at least once a year?
Then it's a whole different deal. No wonder I said either similar or better than OEM, instead of endorsing someone who goes half-ass. I have already seen a '98 Mitsubishi Pajero which had been fixed in a half-assed way, with some hose that couldn't hold up to the vacuum pressure it had to do.
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Old 06-06-2023, 11:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You can generally buy the OEM equivelant part, but it priced at the OEM price. Most people won't pay that. Also how often do you own a vehicle for 20 years and expect to realistically get another 20 from it? My 2000 f250 might go another 10 or more, but I'm pretty sure I cant drive it then because I will be 80 and getting in it to drive will be really hard.
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Old 06-06-2023, 06:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotrsko View Post
You can generally buy the OEM equivelant part, but it priced at the OEM price.
I know that, but the mechanic won't put it on if I buy the part myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotrsko View Post
Also how often do you own a vehicle for 20 years and expect to realistically get another 20 from it?
Maybe not another 20, but at least another two years would be great if I'm paying out my nose for a repair. Having to bring it back in 6 to 12 months later for the same problem isn't what I call fun.

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