People trust them about as much as used-car salesmen or politicians – and yet finding a trustworthy mechanic to fix your car is a lot easier than you think.

The truth is most mechanics are no more dishonest than any other professionals. Sure, there’s always going to be a few bad apples – but if you know what to look for, finding a great car mechanic for all your automatic repairs is simple. Just follow these useful tips:

Do your research

If you know what needs repairing on your vehicle you’re less likely to be ripped off, so it pays to do a bit of research before you leave the house. Do a quick online search and check car forums and message boards to see if you can diagnose your car trouble. It may not be accurate, of course, but at least you’ll have a starting point when you talk to a mechanic.

Meanwhile, search for mechanics in the Yellow pages before you take your car out. If the problem is serious, you’re not going to want to be driving all around town, stopping in at every automotive repair shop and garage that you see.

Find a shop for your brand of car

If you drive a European automobile than a mechanic that specialises in such cars is far more likely to have the car parts you need readily to hand. The same goes for Japanese vehicles, too – although these are far more common in New Zealand.

Often it takes time and money for a mechanic to order fresh parts – which can drive up the price of repairs.

Start with a small job first

If you’re planning on replacing your vehicle’s radiator but it’s not serious yet, why not start with a smaller job first? Take your car in for a wheel adjustment, say, or to get the brakes inspected. If they do a good job and the price is reasonable, then you can trust them for more complicated vehicle repairs.

Check for the MTA sticker

The MTA is an automotive certification body that represents more than 4,000 automotive industry professionals in New Zealand. If a mechanic is MTA assured then that means they adhere to the organisation’s professional standards.

And, if you feel like the mechanic’s work isn’t up to scratch, the MTA operates a free mediation service to help resolve any on-going issues.

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