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Whether you live in Bend Oregon or Virginia Beach, you will need an auto repair shop at some point in time. How do you find the best auto repair shop to work on your vehicle?

The first tip is to find a repair shop that's compatible with your vehicle. If you own an import, you need to find a shop that works on imports. If your import is fairly rare, you should find a repair shop who works on that make of car specifically. I own a Ford so I prefer to take it to a Ford dealer in my town. This dealer has a large repair shop, so it's a good fit for my vehicle. You do need to be careful not to be over-charged for the work, though.

For more complex and expensive repairs, you should always get a few estimates. Prices can vary quite a bit from shop to shop. It's even a good idea to get opinions about what actually needs to be done to fix your car. Like in the medical field, it's good to get second or third opinions.

Another tip in finding a good mechanic is to make sure they are ASE certified. Most larger shops hire only ASE certified mechanics, but it's a good idea to double-check. The ASE certification tests mechanics on their knowledge and skills. If they pass the tests, they most likely know their stuff.

Some shops are large, some are national chains, some have a handful of employees, and some shops are a single-operator type. It's probably not the best to use your brother-in-law's, cousins, friend of a friend. He may not be qualified to do the work.

Years ago I needed a major repair done on my pickup and I had a guy at my favorite gas station do the work. After spending a couple thousand dollars, the problem was not only not solved, it was worse! I learned then to make sure I hired a competent mechanic in the future. It pays to do your homework!

How to Choose the Best Auto Repair Shop in Your Town