Auto repair shop reviews?
October 24, 2005 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Any good online references for finding an auto repair shop? Reports, reviews, horror stories?

I've had a problem with my car for years that the dealer hasn't been able to isolate -- they have lightened my wallet though. The car is well out of warranty, so I'm willing to be adventurous and find a new auto repair shop but I want at least a ray of hope that they're a decent operation.

This happens to be for an Audi in Atlanta (inside the perimeter), but I'm generally interested in any experiences with online databases that have auto mechanic reports.

I know about Cartalk's Mechan-X Files, but the information there is slim and very outdated, at least for my make and location.
posted by intermod to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Car Talk's is the only generic one I know of. I'd suggest looking for local Audi enthusiast groups, though you have the potential drawback that those kinds of people are often very performance and appearance oriented and that may not be your priority.

Never the less, they usually can point you to several shops. Yahoo groups is probably a good starting point.
posted by phearlez at 10:11 AM on October 24, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks. The biggest enthusiast site I'm aware of is (nee but those guys indeed are focused on aftermarket / performance issues. Plus some of those web forums, by default, are configured in a way to encourage mindless short snippets of conversations as opposed to longer term threads. In other words, the quality of the response is highly dependent on who happens to be watching when you post. Very un-MeFi.

Anyway, I'm searching those forums and doing what I can with the results.
posted by intermod at 11:55 AM on October 24, 2005

Doubtful you'll find anything as comprehensive as you are requesting online. As always, your best bet is to ask neighbors or co-workers.
These guys might be able to help you, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:10 PM on October 24, 2005

CAR TALK rules. I found an inexpensive, friendly, good mechanic with good reviews.

posted by filmgeek at 12:37 PM on October 24, 2005

Most or all AAA organizations do have a "short list" of auto shops that they have reviewed and endorse. It's not necessarily that exclusive, but it does add a layer of protection in that if you don't like the service or charges, you can involve AAA.

Here's the page on AAA's Approved Auto Repair Facilities for AAA South, the organization covering the Atlanta.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:18 PM on October 24, 2005, covering "Boston Area · Chicago Area · Delaware Valley Area · Puget Sound Area · San Francisco Bay Area · Twin Cities Area · Washington DC Area"

Non-profit, but not free. I've used them for plumbers, car repair, etc. I use them whenever I can, and it's always been a positive experience. Worth the money for me.
posted by NortonDC at 5:29 PM on October 24, 2005

Not an online reference, but an idea - friend of mine takes her car to two different shops, alternately. Any problems missed/created by the one get caught/reported by the other.

Having been monogomous, shop-wise, with a problem that went on for years, I wish I'd followed her example.
posted by niloticus at 5:41 PM on October 24, 2005

As of 2 years ago, the Cartalk Mechan-X Files had negative reviews culled. The positive stuff is legit, but 'neutral' is effectively absolute zero on the scale. I dunno if anyone is paying more/less attention recently. An I feel your pain with the quality over at Audiworld... me: B5 S4
posted by Triode at 8:30 PM on October 24, 2005

Check with your local insurance agent for a full-service auto garage. That should point you to a reliable honest working mechanic in the area. I will avoid the car dealership - it's been traced to the source of two expensive fixes to my car.
posted by plokent at 1:36 AM on October 25, 2005

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