What to look for in a good Mechanic and How do I know if I already have a good one?
This can be a dynamic topic, but there are certainly some markers to look for in finding yourself a good mechanic that you can really trust to keep you in the air, safe and happy. You say you already have a mechanic; well the same properties in looking for a mechanic apply to knowing if you have a good one. Let’s take a look at what traits might make up a good mechanic and what you can do to find one.
Let’s talk about looking for a good mechanic first. Just like in all professions you have marginal professionals and top of the line. Here are a few items to look for when trying to determine if a certain mechanic is right for you.
Questions for them and to yourself before selecting this mechanic.
(You may want to add a few extra qualifications on your own. These aren’t all inclusive)
1. Does he come recommended by other people?
2. Do you hear from others that he does a good job?
3. Does he have experience in your type aircraft?
4. Do you hear their name brought up favorably in conversations?
5. When you talk to them are they friendly and helpful before he wants to take your money?
6. Ask them if they have the SB’s and all the manuals for your engine and fuselage on site?
7. How many aircraft like yours has he worked on or inspected?
8. Are they willing to show you the issues they found and answer your questions knowledgably about your plane while in their shop?
9. What’s his philosophy regarding regular and preventive maintenance?
10. Is he an arrogant mechanic or open minded to your ideas, suggestions, concerns and will he research problems?
11 Do they use inspection check list, discrepancy list and do good detailed logbook label entries? (possibly ask to see a couple of his labels and check list)
12. Does he document well? It’s for your benefit as well as his and he should know that.
13. Does he give you copies of the maintenance check list or other documents for your personal file? This should be an absolute in case you need it for the FAA, insurance and the re-sale of your plane. You’re paying for the work, get it the way you want it not him.
14. Does he seem to have the proper tools and education for your particular plane?
15. Last, but not least and this item is not a real marker of the mechanic’s professionalism, but should be kept in the back of your mind. What do they charge? If the price sounds too good to be true then there may be a reason and you may get what you paid for. They may not be able to get much business from failings of the above items and try to low ball prices to drum up more business. Someone in a higher demand or better educated usually gets a little more money. Now I know this is not always true that’s why this is last and only something to consider while looking for a mechanic that you will get along with and do a good job for you.
A good mechanic will have a large portion and maybe if you’re lucky all these traits above.
The mechanic’s motto should be: I know there is something wrong with your plane (major or minor) and I’m going to find that for you to keep you safe. Due to a plane’s wear and tear, loosening of attachment items or just sitting for extended periods things change on a plane and it’s your mechanics job to find these. He needs to be a skilled hunter of problems and an organized repairman for these items.
You say you already have a mechanic then you should be able to use these questions to determine if he is good for you. If there are some areas above that you wish your mechanic would do better then sit down with them and explain that you would like these items addressed better in the future. You are paying these people good money and if they aren’t living up to your expectations then there is nothing wrong with asking them to work on your plane a little different.
In many aspects of our life we have choices as to the way we want things, but when we go to a Doctor, a Lawyer or a Mechanic we accept or expect them to tell us what we need or want.
WRONG, we should exercise the same options with these professionals and they should be receptive to our needs and you should fully expect help, understanding, your options given and consideration to your own input. You should expect a 100% job and not 50% at a fair price for the service you receive. That said if you go cheap sometime that’s all you get. Getting a good professional is not always the cheapest fare in town, but doesn’t have to be the most expensive either. Just like buying a new TV or car, shop around and get something that is quality, will last and serve you well.
This was a long story and maybe I should have started it “Once upon a time”, but I hope this helps someone in having a good sound relationship with their mechanic.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY FRIENDS HERE ON OUR FORUM!
If you have a good one don't forget to give them a hug!