Finding the best car repair shop to meet your needs can save you a lot of headaches down the line, especially if you can find a great mechanic before your car starts having problems. Take the time to research auto shops so that you can establish a relationship before major repairs take place. Here are some tips to make it even easier to repair your car.
1. Find Out Who Services the Big Business Fleets in Your Area
Delivery vans, taxis, company cars, government vehicles – all of them have to stay on the road, so you better believe they ‘re taken to a good mechanic when they need maintenance work or repairs. Do a little digging to find out who’s going to serve the big fleets in your area. Then think about taking your business there. Not sure how to find out about that? Just ask a few drivers who their company uses.
2. Check Online Reviews
Use online reviews to gage how other people have been treated in the past. Take note of anything that is particularly good or bad, such as the service, the length of time in the shop, and the cost. Look for high ratings with individualized details that give the authenticity of the review. Also, check to see if the repair shop took the time to address the concerns of the customer.
3. Choose Someone From the AAA-Approved Auto Repair Network
Even if you don’t have AAA, choosing a shop on their Approved Auto Repair Network can be a great way to test a mechanic. All participating shops must offer 12 months/12,000 mile warranties for all repairs, use ASE or manufacturer-certified technicians and perform an annual AAA inspection.
4. Look Up ASE and Manufacturer-Certified Shops
When a mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the manufacturer of a particular car makes that they are working on or both, that’s a pretty good indication that they know their stuff.
5. Check With the Better Business Bureau
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few mechanics, make a quick search on the website of the Better Business Bureau to check their ratings and reviews.
6. Give the shop a tryout
Before your car needs a major repair, you might want to try out some of the local shops with smaller repairs or maintenance items, such as oil and filter changes.
7. Ask about warranties
What kind of guarantees does the shop provide for repair work? Warranties can vary greatly from one shop to another, so ask them ahead of time. Use common repairs, such as brake work, as your guide.
8. Make sure the shop is convenient
Even the best shop might not be worth the effort if its hours are in conflict with your schedule, or if you have few transportation options after you get out of the car.
9. Ask Questions
Ask as many questions as you need to feel secure in your auto shop. Ask about credential, experience, warranties, and customer service policies. Think up a list of questions you may have about the work being done or how the car repair shop works.
10. Ask to Meet the mechanic who will be working on your car
In addition to being ASE certified, some mechanics are certified by manufacturers to work on specific vehicle brands. Ask the mechanic who’s going to work on your vehicle because he’s the one who’s certified and not the shop.
11. Don’t choose based solely on price
While price will definitely affect your decision, choosing the cheapest option may cost you more money. If you did your research, you’ll have an idea of what the cost of your repair or service might be. Pay attention to exactly what’s included in the price. A high price may indicate minimal work, while a high estimate may mean that you are paying for unnecessary parts or services.
12. Get estimates
If your car or truck needs repairs right now, make sure you get estimates from a number of shops in the area to get a good idea of how much it’s going to cost. Ask for a written estimate so that you can see exactly what you are being charged for at each store. Variation in estimates, especially large variations, could mean a number of things, from a shop that misdiagnoses the problem to an overload of parts or labor.
13. Ask the shop to explain the diagnosis and repair in terms you can understand
This is more important than it sounds because some car repair shops are using incomprehensible jargon to confuse the customer. It’s important that you know exactly what you’re working on and why. This could also be a good way to weed out car repair shops that aren’t right for you.
Choosing the best car repair shop for you doesn’t have to be hard, but it takes a little work and a little forethought. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any auto shop you ‘re considering and use it to measure the quality of the service. Choosing the right auto repair shop may lead to a long-term relationship with a mechanic who knows your vehicle better than you do.
By Jon ‘ShakataGaNai’ Davis, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3177569
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