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How do I find a mechanic to check over a car?

I just purchased a 1998 Subaru legacy and have a 90 day guarantee. I want to find an independent mechanic in Providence, RI to do this. How do I find one?

Check out mechanics files on the cartalk home page. Also, asking friends and family about the mechanics they recommend can also work. Next time, I would recommend having the car checked over before the sale, not after. You may be surprised at what your 90 day guarantee does or does not cover.

Visit and post in the NESIC(new england) section (

Word-of-mouth is the best, I think. Ask regular joes whom you figure wouldn’t be paying big bucks, have a vehicle in good shape, and seem to keep up regular maintainance.

The AAA maintains a list of recommended shops that safety check cars for a predetermined fee.

You’re a little late on this. The time to get the car checked out is BEFORE you buy. Unless something is wrong with the car, you won’t be able to insist anything be replaced under warranty. Before the sale, you have some leverage to make the sale contingent upon a clean bill of health from your mechanic or the replacement of tires that are only marginally legal, for example. I know this info doesn’t help you this time, but keep it in mind for the future.

Enough of that. Do you have a mechanic you trusted to work on your previous vehicle(s)? That would be the place to start. If not, I agree with Ken and Roy- go with someone referred by someone you trust to work on their vehicles. Be aware that these cars had headgasket woes. Keep a sharp eye on the oil and coolant levels, and look for signs of cross-contamination of these two fluids. Also be aware that you MUST keep the tires matching in circumference (to within 1/4", IIRC) by proper rotation to prevent costly damage to the AWD system. All four tires should match in size, brand & model, and tread depth.