Best way to find good mechanic / repair shop?

Recommendations from friend & family is good. Or referral from some trusted mechanic/shop, etc. But what can be interesting is you may have a good recommendation from these sources, then check Yelp and you can see mixed/bad reviews for the recommended shop.

Sadly in my area (South Bay Area, California) seems ridden with mediocre shops, none that seem to be quite outstanding. :frowning:

Wonder if Angies List is any better. Anyone have tips on finding good repair shops if you are starting from ground zero (no recommendations, no idea where to go).

Click “MECHANICS FILES” above.

If you don’t find anything with the Mechanic’s Files (you might have to search a wider area) then Angie’s List would be the next step, we’ve used it to find a great contractor but already have a great repair shop (since 1993)

I’ve always found that word of mouth is the best way to find a reputable place. Ask friends and relatives.

Having had a “business” before, I know angie’s charges for you to get there and not sure if the ratings/reviews are all true. Recently yelp got bad press because some businesses claimed they were approached and asked to pay up for good reviews (or disappearing poor ones).

I haven’t had much luck in Southern CA yet. But one thing I find useful is to visit the most run down shop with an old geezer in the bay. If they have been around for a while, then the chances of honest service is higher.

I visited two shops that didn’t meet the above standards but were “highly recommended” by acquaintances. Unfortunately they were crooks (and my co-workers don’t know jack about cars…), they are both ran by a different owner now.

I don’t trust yelp anymore

Some months back the LA times had 2 or 3 part article about yelp, which wasn’t very flattering.
Apparently, a lot of legitimate reviews get weeded out, because you’re a first time user, or because it was too long, too detailed, etc.

Not to mention, there is the persistent rumour that business owners somehow track down the people who left bad reviews . . . . and make it clear it’s in their best interest to change that bad review, or remove it

There is no perfect system, but I like to “play the stats”. Ask everyone you know; family, friends, coworkers, people you socialize with. See if certain names pop up repeatedly.

Good luck.

Thanks for the comments. Your insights are helpful. Didn’t know this site has a mechanics list. I’ll be sure to look over that.

I found the best source is the guys in the field. I have a brake shop, they do brakes very well, but nothing else, I ask where do you go for an alignment, I go to xxx because when they align a car it is not just within specs, but the center of specs, who could ask for a better reccomendation than that. My General mechanics were running late, I needed my golf clubs as I had plan b to get to golf league, I had to wait as the guy was torquing the trans pan after a fluid and filter change with a torque wrench, and the manager did not want to disturb the mechanic in the middle of a job. I was impressed.