Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Interviewing For a New Mechanic?

My sister, a recent transplant from Boulder CO., has moved to Miami FL. She has an elderly 97 protege she is trying to keep alive for another year, and this has caused a need for her to find a new mechanic in Miami. I sugessted the mechanics files on this site and she has found several candidates. She has asked me to ask this forem for some interview questions she should ask; and the appropriate responses. Her old mechanic did things for her like install a smaller serpentine belt to bypass the A/C when the compressor seized, and it is this mentality that she is looking for in her new mechanic. I thank you all in advance for your infinite wisdom and I will forward this url to her.


Sorry for the spelling errors. I should have proof-read it better.

well, installing the non-AC belt in a car that has a busted AC when the owner doesn’t want to fix it is pretty standard. I don’t know that any “interview” will do much beyond annoying the overworked mechanic.

Take the car to one when it breaks and see if he fixes it. If he doesn’t do what you like, move on to the next.

I use a mechanic who has his own small shop. He’s old enough to take care of older cars, but more than capable of repairing newer cars. I’ve been going to him for 17 years.

My neighbor recommended him when my wife and I were new to the neighborhood. Have your sister ask neighbors, coworkers, and friends for recommendations after she settles in. I would stay away from Chains and quick lube places.

Ed B.

Davie Garage (in Davie, FL,) is a hike from Miami, but it is worth it. It is the best shop I have ever been to in South Florida. I used to have my car serviced there when I lived in Miami Lakes. Check out

I’d suggest she ask everyone she’s come to know, including coworkers, neighbors, and new friends, who they recomend…and who they recommends that she avoid. That should give her better information than anything she could ask the mechanic.

I was on vacation this summer and had turned out to be a wheel bearing go out. I use NAPA quite a bit, called up the local NAPA dealer and asked for the most qualified guy for a repair if it was a bearing, or transaxle or who knows what. I was extremely happy with their recommendation. An easy question to ask the parts guy is if you had this problem who would you take it to? I ask my brake guys who they use for alignments and transmissions etc. and that approach has worked well for me.

My feeling about asking neighbors and the like is that they would not know if they got a good job or not. People really are clueless as to if the work that was done was the work that was needed to be done,as long as the same problem does not visit them again.

I have seen it more than once a transmission was sold when all was needed was a drum on a VW,the splines get worn away when the axel nut was not torqued correctly. The people sure were happy with their new transmission, that they did not need.

My old shop teacher would say the test was how quick or really how long it took to get your car in. His idea was that a good mechanic would be covered up and it would take some time to get you in,I never fully accepted his method.

I also recommended this approach to her, but she said most everyone she has met takes their car to the dealer. Probably not where she wants to go.

You made a good point. The social circle I travel in would know, but perhaps the social circles that nontechnical people travel in would not.

But I have no better suggestions.

Just some people I know from church and a Christmas dinner. Well the conversation turned to auto repair and how “the mechanic nowdays just needs to plug in the machine and read the computer and he knows exactly what is wrong” It was Christmas dinner so I kept quiet. There is so much mis-conception over how much self diagnosis the car does today. Then you get the guys whose technical knowledge stopped growing in 1970 and the stage is set for a brawl.