Mobile mechanics provide auto repair wherever your vehicle is located.
When Alan Titus’ car broke down, he thought about having it towed to a shop, as he usually did. But he was intrigued by a mobile mechanic’s advertisement and called him instead.
“I’ve been so gun-shy with car repairs for 40 years that it was a tough decision,” Titus says. But his experience with Dave Lesser, owner of A+ Mobile Mechanics, six years ago was so positive that the SeaTac resident has stayed home for repairs ever since.
“I’ll let my car sit if he can’t get to it right away,” Titus says. “I won’t even take it to a garage anymore.”
Titus is among those who have discovered the benefits of mobile mechanics — men and women who provide auto repair wherever your vehicle is located, often seven days a week.
Lesser travels throughout King County to fix cars in driveways and at workplaces. “Ninety percent of my work is: car doesn’t run, I go out there, diagnose it, put the parts on, the car runs, I leave,” he says.
Getting a diagnosis is among the top benefits, Lesser says. “A mobile mechanic can come out and do the diagnostic, and even if it’s a big problem, at least you have that knowledge that you can shop around repair shops for a head gasket or a clutch or whatever,” he says.
Services vary among mobile mechanics, but most are able to do diagnostics and tune-ups as well as replace parts such as belts, starters and alternators. Tire repairs or jobs that require more than a couple of hours of labor or heavy-duty tools are best left for a shop, Lesser says.
Mr. Mobile Automotive Services owner Darwin Richard agrees that there are limits to his services. “We narrow [the problem] down as quickly as possible, whether we can help them or not, because a lot of times we can’t,” he says.
But the convenience is a big draw for customers. “Having [a mechanic] come to the house to do [repairs] is way easier than driving down to the dealership, leaving the car, getting a loaner and coming back,” says Sharon Ginger, of Issaquah. She used Kalin Laing of Kalin’s Auto to repair her car.
Ken Rice, of Renton, called Laing to work on his wife’s Chevrolet Malibu. Rice had to run an errand soon after Laing arrived at their home. “By the time I got back, he was done,” he says. “He was done in, like, 45 minutes.”
The potential for cost savings is a benefit, too. Rates vary, but mobile mechanics tend to charge a flat rate for a diagnostic and then an hourly rate for repairs.
“It tends to be cheaper to actually have a mechanic come to you,” says Noah Strasbourger, co-owner of Lock and Road. For someone with an inoperable car, “the cost of towing tends to offset the cost of a mechanic coming to you,” he says.
Eric Wang, of Kent, used Laing for a repair and was impressed with the speed of service. “He was out there the day we called within a matter of a few hours,” he says. Wang was won over. “Rather than tow it to a shop, I wouldn’t hesitate to call him.”