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Gas stations are everywhere and more often than not, most of them have auto mechanic shops attached to them. Those shops usually only have two lift bays and are typically dirtier looking than most other independent shops, however, looks can be deceiving. Does that mean you can trust the gas station auto mechanics?

Gas station mechanics are similar to other mechanics

The next time you pull up to a gas station, you might notice a big blue sign that says “ASE Certified,” which means that the mechanics at that shop are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). That usually means that the mechanics can be trusted in terms of the skill levels in order to repair issues on most kinds of cars, but that doesn’t mean they’re certified in good practices. As they say, “there are always bad apples in the bunch.”

That’s not to say that you can’t trust a mechanic at a gas station, in fact, if you look up reviews from your local gas station shops, you’re bound to find at least one, if not a few, shops with near-perfect reviews. Case in point: Whether the shop or mechanic is located in a gas station or not, it doesn’t really matter. After all, I’ve found some of the best fried chicken at a gas station (don’t judge me).

A small gas station auto shop
A small gas station auto shop | Getty Images

How do you find a good auto mechanic?

If you need to find a good mechanic to go whenever you need repairs or maintenance for your car, my first recommendation would be to check out reviews of shops that are near you. While we can all say that some of those reviews could be fake, it’s important to do your due diligence and look up multiple reviews of the same shop. Some other sources that you can check out are:

A small auto shop
A small auto shop | Getty Images

Remember that a mechanic’s price doesn’t mean everything

When you do shop around for an auto mechanic to bring your car to, remember that their prices don’t mean everything. Just like department stores, many auto mechanics will have the same products and provide the same services at different prices and rates, so it’s best to go with one that you can trust, whether or not their prices are cheaper or more expensive than another shop.

However, unlike clothing, a more expensive mechanic doesn’t always mean better quality work and vice versa, so it’s best to do as much research as possible before putting your car in their hands.

A bright blue Mr. Lube auto shop
Front of bright blue and yellow Mr. Lube drive thru oil change station with two small car bays and two large bays during the day. | (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Don’t wait until your car is broken to find a good mechanic

Another good rule of thumb is to not wait until disaster strikes to seek help. In the same way that a medical emergency can strike at any place and time, so too can a car repair emergency.

And if you need your car on a daily basis to get to work or school, the last thing you want to is to be stuck with a dead car and possibly getting ripped off by a dishonest mechanic. Find a local mechanic that you can trust early on so that you know where to take your car should the worst-case scenario happen at the worst time possible.