The Good, The Bad & The UglyThere are many mechanics out there offering a wide range of services. Mechanics are no different from any other professional service; some are good, some are bad and the rest fill in between. The big question is, how do you find the right Denver mechanic for you and your vehicle?
In our opinion, a good mechanic is a person who can quickly solve difficult auto repair problems at a reasonable expense. They actually understand what makes a car work and why things happen the way they do, instead of simply knowing how to replace old parts with new ones. A good mechanic can repair a car on the first attempt without guessing. A bad mechanic bluffs his way through every repair. Even if he figures out how to do a repair, he doesn't really understand what happens next. A good mechanic will give an estimate very close to the final charges. A bad mechanic will give a low estimate to get your business and then have excuses for up-charges and why your final bill is so much higher than their estimate. A bad mechanic will actually do more harm than good to a car. There are plenty of bad mechanics out there that have unfortunately given our industry a bad rap.
Somewhere between the good and bad mechanics are the 'part changers'. The parts changers have a decent amount of experience and can do specific repairs with confidence. A parts changer may not have the training or be intelligent enough to be a top-notch technician but he is good at what he does. When a new or unusual problem with a vehicle comes up however, this mechanic has no idea what to do. Parts changers however are a valuable part of the auto repair industry.
It takes three main things to make a good mechanic; knowledge, experience and intelligense. Intelligence was listed last because it can sometimes be repalced with hard work in the garage. There is, however, no substitute for knowledge and experience which truly goes hand in hand. No matter how much technical schooling is completed or how many technical books are studied, a technician will not be top notch until he has actually worked in the field for several years.
Experience teaches mechanics that simply cannot be learned in the class room. There are only so many repair situations that can be simulated in a classroom shop. A mechanic with several years under his belt are worth a lot more than someone who just graduated from the top auto repair school around. Experience without knowledge usually equates to a good parts changer which is not a bad thing.
Where do you find Good Mechanics?
The top mechanics usually work at the shops with the best reputations and are at the top tier of the prices. This is because a good mechanic will rightfully earn more money than a bad one. Knowing this, a repair shop that charges more will be able to pay their mechanics better. (It is hard to find a top mechanic working at a garage that charges the lowest prices in town. Unfortunately you can only tell if you have a good mechanic is from personal experiences or of others.
Some questions you may want to ask to help you decide if you have a good mechanic: When you leave the shop, do you have to go back to have the problem fixed again? Are you able to bring your vehicle in and the shop quickly fixes on the first attempt without guessing? Is your mechanic able to fix a problem that others have failed at fixing?
I know hearing the best mechanics work at the more expensive shops is hard to hear. Knowing this doesn't mean you always have to use the best mechanic, you can use the 'parts changers' for more simple jobs to save money. If you have an oil change or basic brake repair, find a garage that specializes in that. They will be less expensive and you know if they repair brakes all the time, they are going to have the experience and knowledge to do the job correctly.