Your car is more than just a possession. It’s your link to work, school, soccer games, doctor’s appointments and family vacations. So it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to leave it in the hands of just anyone; they need to be a reliable mechanic who will treat your car the way it deserves to be treated. Here are just a few ways to tell those people apart from the rest.

1. Check Their Credentials

How long have they been in business? Are they members of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) or the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association (AMRA)? A good auto repair shop will be upfront about their qualifications, so don’t be afraid to ask. If they can’t produce any proof of their skills, they’re probably not the experts that they claim to be.

2. Evaluate Their Areas of Practice

While most mechanics brag about “doing it all,” the sign of a truly great mechanic is that they have a specialty or two. If your car needs specific engine or transmission repairs, there’s no one better than a mechanic who’s spent years honing their skills in those particular areas. Talk to different body shops around your city and see if anyone has the background that you need.

3. Ask About Prices

Some mechanics charge by the hour. Others want a flat fee for parts and labor. There’s no way of knowing how your chosen mechanic will bill you until you actually talk to them, so don’t beat around the bush when it comes to finances. Ask them directly how much their services cost. If necessary, inquire about a payment plan that suits your budget.

4. Look for Discounts

On the subject of price, it might not be in your best interest to accept the first estimate that’s given to you. There might be a better deal hiding behind that price if you know how to ask for it. Maybe there’s a “new customer” offer that you can take advantage of; maybe you can receive a discount for being a student, senior or veteran. You’ll never know until you ask.

If you’re looking for a Chantilly auto repair service, these are just a few things to consider before you settle on one company in particular. Remember, your car is your baby, so it’s worth the effort to find someone who will treat it with love and care.