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Recommendations for a good car service?

By 8 October 2009 26

I moved in from Sydney about 2 months ago. Am loving the change of pace and exploring all that Canberra has to offer.

A few weeks into my arrival in Canberra my car was due for a service. I did a quick google search and on advice from my boss (make sure they offer a complimentary car service to take you to work and pick you up while your car is being worked on) picked a car service at random.

Suffice to say that sometimes picking a company at random based only on the criteria that drive you to work and pick you up to collect your car isn’t necessarily enough to guarantee a satisfactory car service.

Usually after a car service my car seems to drive more smoothly – even if it is only for two weeks before it reverts back to being a grumpy little thing.

In this case within minutes of gaining my car back, I noticed that it struggled a little between gears (it’s an automatic), especially when I first start the car – something that I’ve never dealt with before. Usually the gears shift fairly smoothly and when they do start growling, you know it’s due for a service. I was told that the brakes had also been replaced, but within hours of receiving my car, I noticed that my car brakes were squeaking. I thought the whole point of replacing brakes was so that they *wouldn’t* squeak?

Other than the replacement of a front globe (which I specifically asked for), the complimentary ride and a bevy of very friendly mechanics, I don’t feel that the cost of my car service was worth it.

Not to mention they managed to screw up my clock and car radio. I know that’s small and petty but my previous mechanic never had this problem. I’d come back to collect my car and the time would show the right time and all my stations were still in their preset buttons.

I’ve had friends who’ve suggested that I should’ve just returned the car straight away and asked why it felt like the car still had problems. But me being 1. non confrontational, and 2. not all that au fait with car stuff, decided I’d give the car a little while to adjust and see if it was just my own paranoia abt being taken advantage of by a car mechanic that made me feel like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth and give it some time to see how it goes.

Two months later I’m still experiencing these problems, although the brakes have started squeaking a little less. I’m starting to think I should just change mechanics altogether and treat it as an expensive lesson learned.

Not to mention that I know for a fact that my engine belt (?) – that thing that supposedly keeps my engine moving – is due for a replacement and is fairly vital to the running of my car. My previous mechanic told me it should on average cost me around $300 on top of a normal service. Talk about expensive….

So my question to all you Rioters is…. do you have recommendations for a good car servicer? My car is a Holden, but it’s an old model, so I’m not too precious about going to a Holden dealer to get it serviced.

Here are the basic parameters:

  • I’m happy to go anywhere to get it done – I currently live in Bungendore, so I’m more than prepared to drive around, although naturally it’d be ideal if the car servicer was somewhere between or along the way between Bungendore and Acton where I work.
  • I’d also like to have the complimentary car service thingy where they can drive you to work while your car is getting fixed. It makes life a lot easier compared to figuring out bus schedules or paying for a taxi to get to work.
  • I’d love for the service to be reasonably priced given that I know for a fact I will have to spend at least $300 on the getting the belt replaced. I say reasonably priced because I notice that prices in Canberra in general are pricier than Sydney. Having said that if they’re a decent mechanic they’re probably worth the extra dough.

Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated!

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26 Responses to Recommendations for a good car service?
#1
Econman12:33 pm, 08 Oct 09

Try Gombars Motor Service on Erin Street in Queanbeyan (near the hospital).

David is the owner, and is the ONLY ethical motor mechanic I have found in this region. Since moving here in ’93 I have used all manner of mechanics (Repco branded, franchise branded, backyarders, Servos, mobile mechanics, independents) – he is the only one who has always quoted within $25 of the final cost of a service, who has called before doing additional work and who has not charged like the proverbial wounded bull. We have had three different cars serviced by him over the last five years I have known the business, and let me tell you I have not once had an issue with the work done (I am mechanically literate and worked in servos and on farms as a teen). There are other specialists worth thinking about for specifcs like electrical, panel beating, radiators and so forth, but general mechanics, I wouldn’t bother looking further.

Forget the ride to and from work issue, that is a scam. Take a taxi, and get the service right.

#2
willo12:51 pm, 08 Oct 09

harry’s auto care at belconnen

#3
Swaggie1:15 pm, 08 Oct 09

B & E Automotive at Mitchell 62538155. They don’t offer a regular work drop off but as a one off I’m sure he’d arrange something for you if you ask although there is a bus stop almost outside the door and any bus from there takes you straight to Civic. I’ve been using him for 5 years and can’t fault him.

#4
johnny_the_knife1:42 pm, 08 Oct 09

Give Nat at CWC a call on 6247 3601. I have had nothing but exceptional service from Nat, and he offers a free courtesy car.

#5
outdoormagoo2:27 pm, 08 Oct 09

I am going to second Gombars. Fantastic service. Was able to fit me in when my normal mechanic couldn’t

And my preferred mechanic is up the road from Gombars (opposite the top pub in Quangers)and is G&S Auto. I have been using them for several years with multiple cars and have never had an issue. Well priced. Fantastic service and they actually all know what they are talking about rather than one knowledgable guy and a bunch of lackeys like most places in the ACT region.

Give Tony a call on 6284 2232.

#6
ACTing like a Mama2:47 pm, 08 Oct 09

I am going to second B & E Automotive in Mitchell. I think his name is Greg and he is great. Really good at explaining what needs to happen to a non-car enthusiast such as myself, and has always been well priced (and on quote). Just recently we decided to get our broken down car back on the road, and he was happy to come out to our house (we live in a nearby suburb)and check it out for us to see if it did need to go to the workshop. He did all this after his work hours. He has offered to organise a tow for the car and will fix it for a reasonable price. I am really impressed with his service and would recommend him to anyone.

#7
Trunking symbols5:12 pm, 08 Oct 09

Craig Hall Mechanical, Parramatta St Phillip.

#8
geminisc5:16 pm, 08 Oct 09

Thanks for all the suggestions guys! I knew I could rely on all of you to give me decent recommendations. Gonna get on the phone tomorrow and check them all out. =)

#9
trevar6:32 pm, 08 Oct 09

Tuggeranong Car Care are excellent. The only drawback is that they will put a sticker on your back windscreen unless you tell them not to, and they’re the el cheapo ones that take forever to get off…

#10
Ryan6:42 pm, 08 Oct 09

We’ve taken our cars to Nick at Ultimate Tunes in Bellona Ct Phillip for years. Top service.

I note you say you don’t want to work out bus schedules, but each time I take my car in, it’s a 5 minute walk down Parramatta St to a bus stop on Athllon, where an intertown bus to Civic comes past every five minutes. Ditto for the afternoon.

#11
mooncake6:56 pm, 08 Oct 09

I second Nat at CWC. I’m not mechanical at all, but for what it’s worth my car always runs smoothly after a service. He doesn’t charge me for other “faults” every visit like some other mechanics I’ve been to. His prices compare reasonably to other mechanics, and he’s basically a lovely guy!

#12
busgirl8:39 pm, 08 Oct 09

Rob or Shane at AutoCo in Phillip have always done right by me. And you are right near the 300 bus route which is pretty much a bus to/from Civic every 5 mins. Civic is kind of near Acton isn’t it?

#13
Maxxiz1:35 am, 09 Oct 09

Aboveboard Automotive, Mitchell. Never had any problems with them. Always great service and seem happy to work on your car unlike others. They dont have courtesy cars, but maybe a courtesy drop off or something.

#14
Pesty6:22 am, 09 Oct 09

If Gungahlin is not to far off your beaten track (depend on which route you take to work) Paul Whyte is fantastic. Its also dead easy for a bus. My van was brand new, except for the first complimentary service, I have always gone to Paul and his team. The work is always done to the highest standard and always at a very fair price. If my vehicle fails, I lose work! BTW the sticky auto could be due to the cooler conditions in Canberra, especially if it improves as the car warms up.

#15
Peanut9:11 am, 09 Oct 09

Ray at Canberra Motor Works in Hoskins St Mitchell has serviced our cars for years and has always done an excellent job. No courtesy bus though but if you ask for a lift to work he has been known to arrange that.

#16
dvaey9:56 am, 09 Oct 09

trevar said :

Tuggeranong Car Care are excellent. The only drawback is that they will put a sticker on your back windscreen unless you tell them not to, and they’re the el cheapo ones that take forever to get off…

If they put a sticker on my window, Id be demanding they take it off right there and then, and clean the window to its previous state, before I call the police. I hate places that put stickers on car windows, my car only ever had one, which was from the dealer.

#17
MsCheeky10:10 am, 09 Oct 09

dvaey said :

trevar said :

Tuggeranong Car Care are excellent. The only drawback is that they will put a sticker on your back windscreen unless you tell them not to, and they’re the el cheapo ones that take forever to get off…

If they put a sticker on my window, Id be demanding they take it off right there and then, and clean the window to its previous state, before I call the police. I hate places that put stickers on car windows, my car only ever had one, which was from the dealer.

Ditto for Gombars. You could eat your lunch off the floor of that workshop.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall when you rang the police, dvaey. It’s a bit like the chick in the US who rang 911 because Maccas had run out of chicken nuggets. What do you do when there’s a real crisis?

#18
arescarti4210:21 am, 09 Oct 09

dvaey said :

trevar said :

Tuggeranong Car Care are excellent. The only drawback is that they will put a sticker on your back windscreen unless you tell them not to, and they’re the el cheapo ones that take forever to get off…

If they put a sticker on my window, Id be demanding they take it off right there and then, and clean the window to its previous state, before I call the police. I hate places that put stickers on car windows, my car only ever had one, which was from the dealer.

Mr Police man, Mr Police man! He put a sticker on my car and he wont take it off!! Can you arrest him please?

#19
Feathergirl10:36 am, 09 Oct 09

Neal Bates in Hume have always been good to me (I’m a clueless about cars sort) and the vacuume the inside of your car for you too. The only time my car gets vaccumed.

Most recently I’ve used the NRMA in Tuggers for a service – as I had to catch a bus home with bubs as partner doesn’t have bolt for carseat, and buses to Hume are yucky – and anyways, they did a good service and good report but the guy who served me was a rude tool.

#20
barking toad11:49 am, 09 Oct 09

No, I can’t offer advice on getting your car serviced.

Many could offer advice on where to buy a cup of coffee though!

#21
Pommy bastard1:00 pm, 09 Oct 09

I use the guys at the Hawker K-Mart, godo blokes, good work, fair price.

#22
none-a-wall1:36 pm, 09 Oct 09

Gentech in Mitchell are great, esp. with Holdens. Worked on everything for us, from new VE’s, to Vectra, and even my old Apollo. They were able to bring it back from the dead after a 5 year string of dodgy services from around the Mitchell area. cleaned all the ‘gunk’ out from the engine during a regular service, even though others quoted as much as $2000… And they always call before they do any additional work! You can google gentech perfomance for more info.

#23
andym3:55 pm, 09 Oct 09

+1 for Canberra Motor Works at Mitchell. And Ray will organise a loaner for you if you ask when you book for a small fee.

#24
cleo1:49 am, 10 Oct 09

Gombars were really good, used them years ago, had my car done recently, it was going to cost me almost $800.00 so I checked around and talked to friends, took it to Richard on Canberra Ave and Stephens Road Queanbeyan, cost me $520, he is honest, I put my car in about 10am and picked it up at 2.30pm, I already had a service done close to home, also two new tyers and wheel aligment, I rang the people who did the service about parts for my car so they could repair it, rang twice, he said that he would get back to me, as he was chasing the parts up,never heard back, so I called in and he said your answering machine isn’t working properly, what a load of BS, I will never go back to them again

#25
cleo1:53 am, 10 Oct 09

PS Richards phone number 62972333

#26
geminisc6:14 pm, 10 Oct 09

thanks for these further recommendations

further to everyone’s comments about buses – dumb thing to say, but i didn’t realise that mos buses would likely stop a my work place. although now that the obvious is pointed out to me, some of the places recommended sound pretty convenient, in terms of ‘all buses should stop near civic’

when i originally looked at places to get my car serviced i was looking at places in fyshwick (husband’s suggestion, as he reckoned that they would likely be cheaper priced than cbd) and I wasn’t sure abou buses to and from fyshwick to acton.

there are definately lots of recommendations here and i will need to spend some time investigating them all.

thanks again for all your recs. i knew i could rely on riotact to show me the right way to go! =)

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