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How to find the best garages and service stations near you

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Unfortunately it’s a fact of life that, regardless of how careful we are when we’re out driving, our beloved vehicles will be involved in a few scrapes over the course of their lives. Whether it’s as a result of carelessness by another driver, a nasty motorway accident or perhaps a mindless act of vandalism by a misguided youth, there are times when our cars need a bit of tender loving care to get them looking as good as new and performing as they should be.

But often, after an accident, drivers simply don’t know where to turn. They know their vehicle needs a bit of attention, but they don’t know which local garage to trust. Perhaps you’re looking for a mechanic who specialises in one certain area, or you’ve just moved to a new part of town and don’t know which stations should be avoided like the plague.

So how exactly do you find the best garage in town when you need to?

Online guides

The internet has been a huge help for millions of people in many different areas of life and it can be a huge help to people needing to find a reputable garage too. There are many helpful tools on the internet, providing both hints and tips on what to look for in a garage as well as searchable online directories.

Know your car

To avoid being taken for a ride by any mechanic, it’s important to have at least a rough idea of what it is that needs doing to it. Don’t panic, you don’t need to be an expert here – just to think logically. If your car’s going in for a regular service, consult the owner’s manual about what type of service is needed, and do some pre-service servicing of your own. That’s not to say do the work yourself and then pay someone to do it again for you – but lift up the bonnet and have a look at the water and oil levels. If you can see that they’re fine, you’ll know the garage is trying to rip you off if they then try and tell you otherwise.

You should also have a good thorough look at your vehicle’s bodywork before taking it in to any garage. Some rip-off merchants will try and tell you they need to repair a scratch which wasn’t there in the first place – you’ll be able to push back if you know they’re fibbing.

Car dealers

Obviously this depends on where you are and when you bought your car, but it’s always a good idea to ask the dealer you’re buying the vehicle from which garages and mechanics they would recommend. Unless they have their own garage attached to their dealership, then it will be in their interests to recommend you a good mechanic as it could well hit their trade if they’re shown to be recommending cowboys. Remember, they’ll want your return business at some point in the distant future and will also want you to recommend them to your friends and family.

Motor Code

Like other industries the motor industry has a code of practice – Motor Codes. You should always ask a garage that you’re using for the first time whether they’re a subscriber to Motor Codes code of practice, which will guarantee you an honest and fair service, open and transparent pricing, competent and conscientious staff and, should things go wrong, a straightforward and speedy complaints procedure.

Word of mouth

Finally, if you’re unsure as to someone’s reputability then speak to friends, family and colleagues. Word of mouth is an age-old tool of recommending someone and if your Uncle Joe is a lifelong friend of a good mechanic, the mechanic will be sure to look after you when you mention the link. And more importantly, they’ll look after your car too.

Car Care Tips  12/08/2013 17:14:41

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