Finding the Right Mechanic for Your Import

America is home to some of the largest and best auto companies in the world. GM and Ford are home-grown and as such, finding mechanics familiar with the various makes and models is almost as easy as finding a neighborhood electrician.

But Europe and other parts of the world use different voltages, and even their electrical outlets can be different. So, trying to fit an American-made plug into an Italian socket could create a problem. The same is true of having a mechanic trained on American cars work on your precious and expensive imported auto. Be it a BMW, Toyota, VW or Mercedes, you will need to find a mechanic who has the training in foreign auto repair and, hopefully, who has the same passion for imports that you have. Once you find someone with your love of cars, hang onto them, because they will be sure to give you the highest level of mechanical care.

Finding the right foreign auto repair technician is important, and it can be challenging. It is important because many foreign auto systems require specialized knowledge to correctly repair them. Systems interactions can be vastly different from their American counterparts. Foreign auto parts are also an issue and can be difficult to locate unless your mechanic is familiar with the market or, even better, keeps a parts inventory on hand.

To find a creditable mechanic for import auto repair, pay attention to the input you may get from friends and co-workers. They may not have the same type of auto as you, but they are likely to have shopped around and tried various mechanics themselves. So while they may not lead you to the perfect mechanic for your vehicle, they could at least help you by letting you know which shops to avoid. People who have foreign vehicles tend to have a particular love for them, so you likely won’t have trouble getting them to open up about their repair experiences.

Advertising isn’t often the best way to discern the best foreign auto repair shop. As with many true craftsmen, those in the foreign auto repair business tend to earn their reputation through the excellence of their service and the reliability of their repairs. So the company with the most advertising may need to resort to that to get customers.

Check out the reviews online. There are a number of websites, like, that will show you the reviews from customers of the repair shops in your area. Do a search of the specific shops your friends mentioned. Negative reviews typically cannot be edited out by the subject shops.

When you’ve narrowed down the selections, go and visit them before you are desperately in need of their services. Ask questions. Ask how long they’ve been in business and what type of specific training they have. Ask whatever comes to mind. A good mechanic will be glad to spend time with you, even before you are a customer.

Finally, you just have to trust your instincts. You likely will get a feeling about this service shop, from the condition and order of the shop itself to the friendliness and cooperation of the technicians. And once you discover your perfect mechanic, tell your friends.

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