With so many auto repair shops in Clearwater to choose from, locating a good, dependable car repair can be a daunting task. Here are some ways to help you select the one that’s right for you.

1. Don’t fall for scams. Beware of any mechanic that attempts to scare you into having work done. They do this by telling you that the vehicle shouldn’t be driven until fixed for fear that something bad may happen to you. If they really scare you then get a second opinion elsewhere first.

2. Are the mechanics ASE Certified? Shops that employ ASE certified mechanics hold them to a higher standard of excellence and professionalism. They are trained to provide the best possible service in a variety of rigorous certification examinations.

3. Go by word of mouth. Find out from your friends and family who they trust with their vehicles and why. This can provide you with a short list of shops you may want to look into further before making your final determination.

4. Watch out at the dealership. On average dealers charge more for the same service that other shops do and their labor charges are higher than the industry average. Their scope of expertise may also be limited, in some cases but not all, to a particular car manufacturer.

5. Be careful of the well-meaning part-time mechanic relative. This person tinkers with vehicles from time to time and has done some things but rather than have them work on your car and save you money, remember that only a certified mechanic can make sure your vehicle is performing at top shape and you’re as safe as possible while driving it.

6. Chain store shops usually employ entry-level mechanics. This can lead to unnecessary additional time in the shop as they work to get things right with your repairs. Many do guarantee their service so they will fix any issues that arise however the cost of your time while they do this can add up rather quickly.

7. Get a feel for the employees at a shop. Are they friendly and courteous? Do they answer all your questions satisfactorily? If they seem knowledgeable and you are comfortable around them, you’re off to a good start. Find out if the customers waiting for their cars seem pleased or dismayed. This can be easily determined with a quick few minutes of observation in the waiting room.

8. How long has the shop been in business? Has it been around a while and built up a reputation in the community? Any good shop will have lasting power while a poor shop will usually be gone quickly.