One of the most difficult search procedures, and one where most people rely on social networks is the dark and mysterious world of car repair. It’s relatively common to get ripped off, shoddy repair, or the worst, slimy and inexperienced repair people. The mechanic everyone wants to find is a friendly guy who always undercuts the competition because he cares about your business.
Car repair, like western medicine, deals with the problematic scenario. Beyond the regular service (oil, tune-ups), we only deal with mechanics when symptoms appear: the squeaky brake, clunking noise, or click when we turn the key. Unfortunately, mechanics, unlike doctors, do not come with affiliations or a strong community of mechanic friends. If you’re moving to a new city, or don’t trust your friends’ advice, how do you find a trustworthy and skilled auto shop?
I would expect the Internet to provide a bridge between people with good mechanics and those looking for one, but my searches came up empty. Local information providers (CitySearch, Yahoo Classifieds) give the facility to rate or comment on businesses, but lack any actual personal testimonials. Consumer advocate sites (ripoffs.org, The Squeaky Wheel) don’t have a local focus. And to the best of my knowledge, there aren’t any “auto repair testimonial” sites in existence.
My best effort came through the community associated with my car, Volvo owners in America. I found two sites (swedishengieering.com, brickboard.com) that list affordable, experienced Volvo repair shops in the Boston area. It’s a place to start, but definitely not the most efficient search technique possible.