Finding a good and honest mechanic is an accomplishment worthy of a gold medal. Sure there are ratings systems, and you could ask for recommendations from your co-workers, but recently when I dropped off my car for an oil change I realized the answer was staring me in the face. Welcome to my old-men-drinking-coffee rating system for car repair shops.
In all of the car repair shops I've been to in my life, I've found that the more old men drinking coffee, the better the work and the better the service. This is true both before and after the sale.
I'm not talking old men waiting on their own cars to get fixed. No, these are the same locals who might wander down to the barbershop come lunchtime to create scenes reminiscent of the Andy Griffith Show. These old men can stand about as much crap from a mechanic as Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the movie Grumpy Old Men, and won't hang around a place that is not on the up and up.
Don't make the mistake of judging car repair places by the leather-covered Lay-Z-Boy recliners and Direct TV-sourced flat screens that fill the waiting rooms. Give me a worn chair and an old coffeepot surrounded by five old men any day.
However, should you find the coffee pot at your potential mechanic surrounded by individuals who look like extras from National Lampoon's Vacation rather than Andy Griffith, I suggest you skip the tuneup and head for the highway -- avoiding the potholes on your way!
Grumpy Old Men: The secret to finding a good mechanic