Canberra’s best mechanic?

By 14 February 2013 42

So I did a search, and much to my surprise, 2012 seemed to show a complete dearth of “best mechanic” questions on Riot Act! (This is likely the cue for a litany of people to start posting links that the search function didn’t reveal…)

Anyway, my car is passed it’s used car warranty.

So have it – where will I find the best mechanic?

To define “best” – I’m going to say 1) communicates any issues well, 2) doesn’t take advantage of peoples ignorance of mechanics, 3) doesn’t charge 50 bucks for parts and 100 bucks for labor to replace a fan belt (this actually happened to me interstate), 4) does a reliable service that won’t have me taking it back within a month.

Please help!

[Ed: If you arrived via a search engine, you'll find our most recent Canberra mechanic thread here.]

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42 Responses to
Canberra’s best mechanic?
ezy10z 9:06 am
14 Feb 13

Haahahaha good luck

p996911turbo 9:18 am
14 Feb 13

It really does depend on the make and model of your car. Some cars (particularly German ones) require special training, tools and diagnostics.

If you have an Volkswagen Audi Group car (VW/Audi/Skoda), try the Canberra VW Centre in Tuggeranong. He’s excellent and charges very fairly.

Debut69 9:29 am
14 Feb 13

Mechanical Care in Belconnen. Not overpriced, explains everything in plain (read: no idea about cars) English and always does a sensational job.

Keijidosha 9:39 am
14 Feb 13

Craig Hall Mechanical in Phillip. The owners are the guys spinning the spanners, so they take pride in their work.

m@ 10:34 am
14 Feb 13

Dickson Mechanical and Muffler Service are good.

devils_advocate 10:56 am
14 Feb 13

There is a distinct dearth of good mechanics in Canberra. By that I mean people that actually have a bit of sense in terms of diagnosing a mechanical problem (as opposed to hooking the ECU up to their diagnostic machine and going ‘nah mate, computer says it’s fine!’)

If it’s a super-common commutermobile then you *may* be ok taking it to a mechanic, but you’ll probably get charged a fair bit, purely because a higher proportion of canberrans wouldn’t know a camshaft from a crankshaft and have a high willingness/ability to pay (basically asking to get ripped off, and mechanics are too happy to oblige).

After countless bad experiences, I do my own mechanical work – my time is quite expensive but i prefer the peace of mind in knowing that the job has been done right. Even top-quality tools (sidchrome, kingchrome) pay for themselves surprisingly quickly (sometimes on the first job).

I would really love to be able to take my car to a mechanic – pay money and have the issue dealt with – but it’s just not feasible.

JimiBostock 11:06 am
14 Feb 13

I am a fan of the guy at the servo across from Kingston Shops

trickyxr 11:10 am
14 Feb 13

I reckon Gordon at Mechanical Care in Belconnen does a good job good price from what i can gather.

goody658 11:27 am
14 Feb 13

Canberra VW Centre in Tuggeranong is great. The the pricing is spot on and half what they charge at Lennock motors.

Very helpful if you have a VW ,this is the place to go!

Snarky 11:42 am
14 Feb 13

We’ve had Russell at Fisher Car Care (ex Fisher Mobil) looking after our vehicles for years. He’s always done good work for us, and at a reasonable price.

CoffinRX2 12:44 pm
14 Feb 13

Kevin and Matt, Canberra Total Service and Repair, 69 Oatley Court Belco. They used to operate Holt Autoport.

Predominantly most of the stuff they do is general servicing, logbook services, brakes, suspension, clutch etc the usual stuff. But for those with older carby cars they know their way around those just as well as the newer modern stuff. Very reasonably priced too.

Have been using them for the last 18 months or so (I have an engine being rebuilt there at the moment for a subaru, and my chev is there as well) … wont find better guys

CoffinRX2 12:44 pm
14 Feb 13

Their Number is 6251 3888

sandog 12:51 pm
14 Feb 13

Overpriced is all I can say having come from Melbourne. I went to Revell in fyshwick for some suspension work based on a reccomendation here. they had my car for 3 weeks, saying they were going to start working on it soon etc etc everytime i called. In the end they said they couldnt do anything (fair enough,) and that I should change my entire suspension set up (also fair enough but i wanted to see if they could fix the issue first) but said the parts were going to cost 2500 before labour and take 2 weeks to arrive. Now at this point, I couldnt take my car back because theyd taken the suspension out. In the end I sourced the parts brand new from Japan which arrived in 4 days. Cost to install? $620. Same job in Melbourne from equally reputable place, $300 incl alignment.

End Rant.

Beau Locks 1:00 pm
14 Feb 13

Ron and Tom Bates at Bates Automotive in Mitchell (ex Lyneham servo). Old school father and son set up. They’re really decent blokes, and you feel like you can actually trust them and take their advice. I base this on years of experience from my parents and friends, as well as with our sad buggy.

They communicate real good, don’t take advantage, and if they charge you heaps for a fan belt it’ll be for a really good reason that they’ll communicate well and not because they’re taking advantage.

wildturkeycanoe 1:03 pm
14 Feb 13

I haven’t trusted a “mechanic” since my ‘ol VK Commodore got taken back for the third time for a rego inpsection, after washing off the spilled brake fluid from topping it up on 2nd visit and he told me it was still leaking. The engine was degreased as per his request, but because the engine bay was still wet he wasn’t going to pass the inspection [God forbid if it had been raining that day]. Then at different place, another rego check, I was told the brake pads were worn so I promptly replaced them, to find they had at least 40% left on ‘em. I wasn’t a happy customer and never went back.
I can feel your frustration if you have a newer car and haven’t got mechanical knowledge. I’m old school and can do most servicing and repairs myself, except for anything after 1985. Then you needed a laptop computer to tell you what is wrong. And then it still costs you a tonne. Just yesterday I was looking at the prospect of $25 spark plugs [each] or ignition leads at $230 for a kit, comprising 3 leads. Older vehicles you can get ‘the same for under $40!!! As it is, I fixed my car without buying plugs or leads for nothing except some left over electrical tape. Can’t believe my good fortune there.
AS FOR YOUR QUESTION – I can’t say about servicing, but for communication and easy, friendly service, I give Harry’s Auto Care a thumbs up. 4 vehicle roadworthy checks, told me in plain English what needed doing and didn’t have to wait for eons.

Jivrashia 1:36 pm
14 Feb 13

Beau Locks said :

Ron and Tom Bates at Bates Automotive in Mitchell (ex Lyneham servo). Old school father and son set up.


They just do a decent job at decent price.

I’ve gone to them after I’ve had the hair pulled out of me from every orifice, at a place in Belco.

14 Feb 13

What ever you do be aware of Auto Basics in Fyshwick (also know as Battalion auto). I brought my car in for a service, they pulled my car apart and then realised that they did’nt have all the parts they needed to complete the job. They tried to change me $800 for the replacement parts which I was able to purchase at Canberra Auto parts in Dickson for $250.
They had my car for close to 2 weeks, when I got it back the car wasnt running properlty due to the work they did. I had to take it back again the following week. Looks like I’m not the only one who wasnt satisfied with their service:

arescarti42 2:00 pm
14 Feb 13

I recommend G&S Auto in Queanbeyan and Paul Whyte Automotive in Gungahlin. Both seem to do a good job and provide good customer service.

Ben_Dover 2:20 pm
14 Feb 13

Marcus and the boys at Hawker garage (K-Mart auto/Shell station,) look after my cars, good bunch of lads and fair and reasonable.

Ferarri 3:54 pm
14 Feb 13

I have been using the mechanical expertise of Nat @ CWC Auto Services (behind the War Memorial) for 6 years, never a problem. They offer a courtesy vehicle for your use during the day, so you do not need to miss any appointments. They have been at the same location for 30 years +
Contact: 6247 3601

muntychops 6:49 pm
14 Feb 13

I had a HSV. A few years back and used Gentech in Mitchell, they are great albeit a little pricy but they really know their stuff. After that I used the guys at Spence servo, good for basic stuff.

I got a new car last year, nothing special, and at the insistence of a few friends I know use Lange’s Auto in Queanbeyan, great guys and very good service, they are really busy though so book ahead

liability 7:51 pm
14 Feb 13

Had a very recent good experience with Steve Kelo Automotive at Belconnen, He is an LPG fitter and also does general mechanical work.

I recently purchased a second hand duel fuel car. Did the lpg inspection somewhere else and they told me it failed due to the handheld lpg detector sensing a leak near the filler tube.

Went to Steve Kelo Automotive after a mate recommended him to have him fix it. He said, without looking at it, that it might just be a leaking O ring or could be something more serious (i.e. more expensive, can’t recall exactly what he said it could potentially be). The car didn’t cost me much so I asked him to check it out and if it was under $600 to fix it, if it was more to call me and discuss the options.

About 30 minutes after dropping it off to him he called me and said that is was simply the petrol (not LPG) cap not sealing properly and this was what the leak detector was picking up. He charged me $15 for supply and fit a new cap, and the car passed the LPG inspection fine after that.

That is what I call an honest mechanic! He knows that he could have easily charged me several hundred dollars and I would have been happy if it was less that $600. It is the first time I have been there, but I will be doing back, as it is hard to find an honest mechanic.

miz 8:51 pm
14 Feb 13

I’ve always been happy with Gary at Tuggeranong Car Care (behind Woolies servo on Scollay) – always rings you first if there’s something big and/or unexpected. (Mind you, as I have a Toyota, big and unexpected are rare).

Pollushon 9:16 pm
14 Feb 13

Huh, never thought I’d ever comment on the riot act. Another vote for Gordon at Mechanical Care in Belco. While I’m a mechanic myself, I don’t practice any more (yep, I became a pube), so I sometimes make use of his services. Gordo is no nonsense and sacrifices the standard Canberra mechanic profit gouging to keep custom.

kimbo 9:45 pm
14 Feb 13

I would defiantly recommend Repco (City Car Care) in Tuggeranong. Dave and Kerin are professional and honest. I have several cars that we take there, a 1972 Statesman, 2002 Forester and a 2004 Mazda 3 and all of them come back feeling like they just came off the show room floor. Pricing is very reasonable may not be dirt cheap but you get a nation wide warranty on repairs and they are always of a fantastic quality.

poetix 9:57 pm
14 Feb 13

Jivrashia said :

Beau Locks said :

Ron and Tom Bates at Bates Automotive in Mitchell (ex Lyneham servo). Old school father and son set up.


They just do a decent job at decent price.

I’ve gone to them after I’ve had the hair pulled out of me from every orifice, at a place in Belco.

I didn’t know mechanics did waxing, but that’s just a detail…

I use Bates too, and they are honest and don’t patronise.

Shullerina 10:42 am
15 Feb 13

+ 1 for Nat at CWC in Ainslie Village. He’s been the mechanic for all the cars in our family for (at least) the last fifteen years.

Always takes good care of us.

Deref 12:00 pm
15 Feb 13

The guys at City Car Care in Braddon do a great job. Not cheap, but top class work.

MightyJoe 1:45 pm
15 Feb 13

Michael Harding @ Techworkz in Tuggeranong (next to carwash).

He has serviced all of my Subaru’s (he does other cars too) . He is honest and does not charge like a wounded bull.

gungsuperstar 7:57 pm
15 Feb 13

Thanks to everyone for the comments – I’m quite surprised to see so many people happy with so many different mechanics! Mechanical Care in Belconnen seem quite popular, so I might give them a go. Although a colleague also recommended CWC in Ainslie, and I quite love the courtesy car! So whoever can get me in quicker I suppose. Might also get a time frame for the Gungahlin one, it’s nice and close by.

I dunno about Bates. He ripped off a friend terribly, doing unauthorised work costing more than what the car was worth… and it still died a terminal death within a month. His shonky work was actually my inspiration for posting here; I just didn’t want to blindly pick one out of the yellow pages after that. I certainly won’t be going there!

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