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May 14, 2009

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I guess I found my mechanic in an unusual way. I'll try and keep the story short. :) I'm into cars and have been ever since I was in high school (I'm 24 now). One day I was having issues finding a shop to mount a new set of tires on my vehicle. They were low profile tires on my 17" rims, and of course my car was lowered (the front has about 3.5" of clearance) so finding a shop was going to be difficult. I had gone to my local Ford dealership for work prior, but I didn't like their service and I didn't like the way they handled my car, so I was bound and determined to find another shop. Went to about 3 or 4 and they all turned me away either saying they wouldn't work on a lowered vehicle, or their machine wasn't set up to work with low profile tires and they were worried about scratching my rims. So as I'm driving down the road I run into this guy who drives an Acura TL, modified, and has 19" rims. I roll down my window and ask him where he goes to get his tires mounted...considering they are bigger than mine, and a lower profile...he would surely know where to go. He told me to follow him because he was heading to his "mechanic." We get to this shop, and let me tell you...never in a million years would I have found it, nor would I have gone there. Just like the comment previously listed in FMF's post...the sign was faded, and it kind of looked like an old building in not the most "popular" part of town.

Long story short...I have been going there now for 5 years with both cars. I refuse to deal with anyone else. He is fair, great service...yes sometimes it takes a little longer, but I know that things are getting done right. At this point, I'm on a first name basis, I can stop by whenever I want to get something looked at without making an appointment and he cuts me deals where he can. He even gives little kick backs for the business I recommend to him. Like I said, I swear by this guy, and with most of my tuner friends that have issues finding shops working on modified cars he, this shop is a life savor. What makes this story even funnier is that about 5 months ago or so I realized that he even lives in the same neighborhood as me. He doesn't live near my street, but nonetheless, right around the corner from me.

I found our mechanic from an online forum with a strong regional section. Its a subaru forum, even though i don't own a subaru. You ask and you will get a bunch of great suggestions. And from people that are picky about their cars.

So i would suggest trying to find an online forum for your make/model of car and find a local section in it and ask for suggestions. Also give a list of your problems if you have them and people can point you towards the right thing to fix as well to help you from getting shamed.

The site i go to is www.nasioc.com

Any Advice for body work? (purely cosmetic but looks like one entire panel needs to be replaced from a very slow speed side hit). I usually use my dealer for anything bigger than an oil chang b/c I trust them to do it right, but for a cosmetic thing (and it has 110K miles so I'm not exactly concerned about perfection here) maybe it makes sense to try someone cheaper? Thanks.

My strategy has always been that, wherever I lived, I chose the shop that was closest; established a friendly rapport with the owner; made it clear that he or she could expect to receive ALL of the repair & maintainance work for this vehicle--dealer be damned!--and that I expected to keep this vehicle on the road for as long as possible.

Also, from time to time, I look the mechanics straight in the eyes and tell them "I'd rather give you $2000 a year than give some greasy car salesman $5000 a year!"

Strick --

I got a good reco from my insurance agent (when another guy backed into my car.) The agent told me that I had a choice of many body shops to go to, but this one was the one he recommended and used himself. They were great!

Strick - Know anyone with a classic car or in a car club? If not go to a cruise night or car club show and ask. They always know good body folks because unlike insurance work these guys are usually footing the whole bill, yet their standards are high so they don't accept a bondo-and-buff job either. Word gets around in those circles about body shops with good work at a fair price.

I have an amazing mechanic, who isn't the cheapest, but he goes above and beyond the call of duty, and keeps my car (a '94 Tempo) very well maintained.
I've tried the cheap places but was a little concerned about the quality. Plus, the upselling was annoying.

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