How to Choose the Best Car Repair Shop
Finding the best car repair shop to meet your needs can save you a lot of headaches down the line, especially if you can locate a great mechanic before your car begins having issues. Take the time to research auto shops so you can establish a relationship before a major repair occurs. Here are some tips to make it even easier to get your car repaired.
Obtaining referrals from friends, family, neighbors or even your local parts store can go a long way toward finding the right mechanic and car repair shop for you. Word-of-mouth referrals can save you research, as often you will get an honest referral based on someone else’s experience.
Shop Around Before an Emergency
Start looking for a good car repair shop to avoid having to make hasty decisions. Need-based decisions may end up costing more, especially if the shop you take your vehicle to does shoddy work.
Check Online Reviews
Use online reviews to gauge how other people have been treated in the past. Make a note of anything that is particularly good or bad, such as the service, length of time in the shop, and the cost. Look for high ratings with individualized details that give the review authenticity.
Also, check to see if the repair shop took the time to address customer concerns.
Ask as many questions as you need to feel secure with your auto shop. Ask about credentials, 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 operates.
Look for car repair shops that have Automotive Service Excellent (ASE) employees and offer warranties on parts as well as a customer guarantee. You may also want to ask how many years the employees have of experience in mechanical repairs.
Ask to Meet the Mechanic Who Will Be Working on Your Car
Some mechanics are certified by manufacturers to work on particular brands of vehicles in addition to being ASE certified. Ask to meet the mechanic who will be working on your vehicle because he is the one who is certified and not the shop.
Does the Repair Shop Have an Affiliation?
Ask about any affiliations the auto shop has. For example, Approved Auto Repair (AAR) prescreens auto shops for quality service. AAR affiliated repair shops are closely monitored, and they are required to sign an agreement stating they will provide high-quality service performed by certified mechanics.
Other affiliations include the Automotive Service Association (ASA), which indicates the shop adheres to a code of ethics and a high standard of customer service. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers insight into their business operation and being in good standing means their customers are satisfied with their service.
Don’t Choose Based Solely on Price
While price will certainly affect your decision, choosing the cheapest option may cost you more money. If you have done your research, you will have an idea of what your repair or service may cost. Pay attention to exactly what is included in the price. A great price may indicate minimal work, whereas a high estimate may mean you are paying for unnecessary parts or services.
If your car or truck needs repairs now, make sure you get estimates from several shops in the area to get a good idea how much it is going to cost. Request a written estimate so you can see exactly what you are being charged for at each shop. Variation in estimates, especially a wide variation, could mean several things, from the shop diagnosing the problem incorrectly to being overcharged for parts or labor.
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 use incomprehensible jargon to confuse the customer. It is important you know exactly what is being worked on and why. This can also be a good way to weed out the 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 does take some work and a little forethought. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of any auto shop you are considering and use that to gauge the quality of the service.
Choosing the right auto repair shop can lead to a long-term relationship with a mechanic who knows your vehicle better than you do.