in need of a good car repair shop (for brakes)

amelia's picture

hey everybody.

my brakes are making human noises. i did my best "brakes impersonation" over the phone for my father, who told me i need to get those brakes replaced before i wear down the rotors (rotors? yes).

here's my problem: i look like a kid, i'm female, and i know nothing about cars. i'm pretty concerned that someone will try to rip me off. i can't afford to spend more than $300 at the most, so please help me out.

can you give me a recommendation for someone who is honest? good experiences? bad experiences?

(i searched the archives, but didn't find anything about brakes specifically.)

thank you everyone, in advance! i appreciate your help.

melia.

jmminarik's picture

I don't know about brakes

I don't know about brakes specifically, but we still like Mike at B&D. Garrison's also has an excellent overall reputation and won't steer you wrong. Both places should be perfectly fine for brakes.

You definitely want the brake pads replaced before rotor damage. Pads are relatively cheap, new rotors aren't.

Good luck,
Joe

rtsaidred's picture

I agree with jmminarik about

I agree with jmminarik about Garrison's. They are very honest and will tell you want you need to get done, or more importantly, they'll tell you what you DON'T need to get done. I've experienced the latter more than twice with Garrison's. They won't steer you wrong, imo.

stock's picture

Several of my friends and I

Several of my friends and I use Joe at Palm Auto, one block towards the EL from Rocket Cat coffee. I have used Mike at B&D in the past also and he is good. I sent a girl that works at Rocket Cat to him, she had the same worries as you, and she was very pleased.

Both are fair and do good work, the problem with anyone that is good and cares about their work is they are very busy and they are one man operations.

Defiantly replace the pads before they hit the rotors, it's supper simple to do. They build them so that you can not put the pads in wrong, they only fit one way.

Nunzio's picture

The other good news is that

The other good news is that brakes won't cost you $300. It should be closer to $100-$150 if you do all four wheels.

brooke's picture

I was using Mike at B&D and

I was using Mike at B&D and had to switch to a friend in Port Richmond at Amco Motors for scheduling issues. I've had a ton of work done at Amco Motors, including new front brakes...Couldn't tell you how much it was separately because it was done in conjunction with a lot of other things. Max, the owner, is a Northern Liberties resident and often has his dog Buddy (a Jack Russell) at the dog park at Orianna Hill so you might know him already. Also a good place to go if you're looking for a used car.

Larry99's picture

yes, Mike (B&D) is a one man

yes, Mike (B&D) is a one man operation. I know he has gotten alot of business and has been really busy lately. However, I don't mind dealing with the wait/scheduling for an honest, reliable mechanic in the neighborhood. ...I keep telling him he's gotta get some help but I think he's a control freak!!!

snailgem's picture

Garrison's

Garrison's

brooke's picture

Yep, Larry--I'm a pain in

Yep, Larry--I'm a pain in the butt sometimes with my scheduling...most people who live in the 'hood don't rely on their cars to get to work or can do without them but my car is my office so I'm a rare situation. Mike is awesome, honest, very reasonably priced and straightforward and I've recommended him as well to a ton of people.

jmminarik's picture

brooke wrote:most people who

brooke wrote:

most people who live in the 'hood don't rely on their cars to get to work or can do without them

Maybe they can find an alternative, but based on how much parking frees up in the morning, I think more rely on vehicles than you might think. Everyone doesn't work in Center City.

-Joe
"There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking." ~ Joshua Reynolds

stock's picture

Scheduling was the problem

Scheduling was the problem with Mike, it's also a problem with Joe at Palm. Both are great, but are one man operations, if you can wait, I would. Strait forward guys.

simmer's picture

To be honest, I have had

To be honest, I have had nothing but posittive experiences at PepBoys. I have a regular mechanic for the big stuff but for other things, I take it to Pep Boys. the best thing that can be done is for you to go out and buy the brakes yoruself and then take them with you. It saves you a ton of money cause wherever you get the job done, they will charge you an arm and a leg for the parts.

workerbee's picture

I think mike (b&d) knows

I think mike (b&d) knows cars but.......
I got that red flag feeling more than once.

I can deal with waiting if I can trust my mechanic.

I recently tried the two guy's (name?) on girard at crease.
Jury is still out on the work.
They are very nice but, take no credit cards and "have no computers"??? How do they check service alerts, recalls etc.???

Garrisons is a little too far in bad weather.

snailgem's picture

simmer wrote:To be honest, I

simmer wrote:

To be honest, I have had nothing but posittive experiences at PepBoys. I have a regular mechanic for the big stuff but for other things, I take it to Pep Boys. the best thing that can be done is for you to go out and buy the brakes yoruself and then take them with you. It saves you a ton of money cause wherever you get the job done, they will charge you an arm and a leg for the parts.

My latest experience at the Pep Boys at Port Richmond Plaza:
car battery light kept coming on. I took it in thinking it needs new battery. They said they would run a test on battery and related stuff to see what's wrong. They did and said battery was fine and they could find nothing wrong, it must be an electrical problem and they don't do electrical.
A week later my car died on the trolley tracks on Girard: the alternator had crapped out.
Conclusion: Pep Boys had checked battery and starter but not the alternator. Pretty basic stuff.

brooke's picture

I simply can't support Pep

I simply can't support Pep Boys with the whole selling of the mini-bikes...and well, I'm all about supporting the local guys.

How awesome is it in such a small neighborhood that we have more than one mechanic we're willing to suggest?! I think it's remarkable we have one North of Center City let alone so many just within a 1/2 mile radius.

jmminarik's picture

brooke wrote:I simply can't

brooke wrote:

I simply can't support Pep Boys with the whole selling of the mini-bikes...and well, I'm all about supporting the local guys.

For those who don't know, Pep Boys is a Philly HQ'd company, in not the best area of the city. If they go out of business, it does mean a loss of jobs not just for the local store employees (most of whom seem to be minorities in the city), but also all of the people who work at the HQ.

-Joe
"There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking." ~ Joshua Reynolds

stock's picture

When you take your car to

When you take your car to Joe (Palm) or Mike (B&D) it's also a social thing for me. It's like going to the barber (not the hair salon). Once you get to know them, there are always a few stories to tell, even a beer after work.

I like to know that my mechanic lives in the area, has a family etc... He is fixing a machine that transports me at high speeds, I beat the hell out of it (heavy loads), is honest. I know Pep Boys is local, I use them for oil changes, but the big stuff goes to Mike or Joe.

brooke's picture

Yep, I know Pep Boys is

Yep, I know Pep Boys is local--but they're also a national chain. My $ is much better served going to a guy who works on it is, is more knowledgeable than a guy who is earning $8 an hour, who reaps more profits off it, etc. So I suppose I'm all about helping small businesses as well. :)

jmminarik's picture

brooke wrote:Yep, I know Pep

brooke wrote:

Yep, I know Pep Boys is local--but they're also a national chain.

But not everyone know it, especially folks new to the area. Some people hear 'chain' and immediately assume an affiliation with residents of the lower planes of Heck even though most people's retirements are invested in those types of companies. :-)

-Joe
"There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking." ~ Joshua Reynolds

amelia's picture

wow! thank you, everyone,

wow! thank you, everyone, for your suggestions! you've all been more than helpful. this weekend i will call around to the places you have mentioned.

i can't thank you enough for your help! clearly i owe somebody a pie.

-a.

jmminarik's picture

amelia wrote:wow! thank

amelia wrote:

wow! thank you, everyone, for your suggestions! you've all been more than helpful.

-a.

It happens occasionally before thread tangents. :-)

-Joe
"There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking." ~ Joshua Reynolds