Montreal: Car Mechanic Review (Rajcan Auto)

Montreal car mechanic reviews are strangely hard to find. I did some Google searching and there are no clear reviews on where in Montreal you should take your car to if it ever needs repair. So now I am taking a chance on a local car mechanic and try to avoid being ripped off.

(Note: Jump to the bottom if you want to skip my ranting.)

The Bad News:
My car's head gasket, and head (both parts of the engine) are damaged and need repairing. The car dealer charges over $200 just to figure this out (pretty expensive just to tell you some bad news if you ask me). Now we all know not to go to a dealer for basic car services. Lesson learned.

The Worse News:
Fixing the head gasket is no small task, as it means taking the engine apart, fixing/replacing parts and then putting it all back together. At this point you may as well change the timing belt as well as the alternator and power steering belts. The water pump also should be changed at this time.

The car dealer's service center quoted me (get this): $3300. Car mechanics only get paid $25-35/hour so you can only imagine how much of a markup the car dealer enjoys. But, they decided to offer me a discount and reduced it to "only" $2700 (taxes included). They clearly know the margins they are quoting are insane and better yet—No courtesy car for me, BUT you can rent a car...At your own expense of course. (To be fair they have two courtesy cars, so you just have to be super lucky to get one). In the end, they want $2700 from me and cannot provide me with a courtesy car. Thanks for nothing. It was the last straw...It's time to find a new car mechanic.

The Problem:
Finding an honest mechanic. Car mechanics have always had a bad reputation. Whether they are overpriced or dishonest it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. From what I have read, places like Canadian Tire (and chains in general) are not any better. They often get a commission on your bill, so of course they want to fix as much as they can, or charge you for extra hours just for the fun of it.

Choosing a car mechanic is tricky, as most do not seem to have much of an internet presence. So I took a risk and went to a small one-man car shop, and am now reporting back my findings.

The Solution:
I finally decided on Rajcan Auto Center which is run by Indy (his name). I'm happy to report that the experience was positive. He takes the time explain what he is going to do and his prices seem fair. He also provided me with a courtesy car (it's old and kind of beat up, but it definitely beats renting a car). I also recommend communicating with him by phone, rather than by email.

At the end, if you are interested, you can see the old parts he takes out of your car (kind of like seeing your wisdom teeth, after a trip to the dentist). He fixes only what needs to be fixed, and in the end the total was $1450 (taxes included). Of course the savings compared to the dealer are significant, but it all wouldn't mean anything if the repair job was performed poorly. The good news is that right now I have absolutely no complaints. Everything is working as well as I hoped for. The engine is running great and all the symptoms I had before are completely gone.

I'm skeptical of anything new and unknown by nature, especially with car mechanics. If there are any updates I will report back here (good or bad). But, as of right now I can highly recommend Rajcan Auto, if you are looking for a good honest car mechanic; one that I will be returning to for my own car.

PS: Just tell him Ryan sent you if you happen to drop by his shop because of this post :)

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