How to Find a Good Auto Repair Shop
- by Bill Littel
A good mechanic should be willing to explain the problem and its solution in laymen’s terms. They should also be willing to show you the repairs.
A reputable shop will respect your car’s maintenance schedule. However, if they suggest additional services that aren’t in the owner’s manual, ask why.
Ask for Recommendations
Ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors and co-workers who have had their cars repaired at a shop you’re considering. Also, ask them if the shop provided any extras or benefits like complimentary transportation. Those are good indicators of customer service.
Ideally, you’ll find a shop that specializes in the same type of car you drive. That way, they’ll have the proper equipment and skills to fix any issues you may be having. In addition, some shops display their technician’s credentials for customers to see, which is another good sign.
Regardless of which shop you choose, make sure the manager and mechanics are friendly and knowledgeable enough to help you. If they seem unsure about what’s wrong with your car or how to fix it, look elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to get everything in writing, including the estimated cost and how long it will take them to complete the work. This will prevent any misunderstandings down the road. Additionally, it’s a good idea to get multiple quotes for larger repairs. This will ensure that you’re getting the best possible price.
Check Online Reviews
Online reviews are a great way to gauge how well an auto repair shop treats its customers. Unlike what a customer might say to their significant other over dinner about their experience at the auto shop, online reviews are public and visible to anyone who wants to see them.
If a shop has many positive reviews, it’s likely that their service is above par. However, if you notice a pattern of negative reviews, it might be time to find another shop.
It’s also important to look for the best auto repair shop that specializes in your car’s make and model. Mechanics who specialize in a certain brand often know the technical service bulletins better and can source quality parts at a competitive price.
A good auto repair shop will ask its customers to leave a review on platforms like Google, Yelp and Facebook. This allows the shop to keep its reputation high, as it gives potential customers a glimpse of the service quality and customer satisfaction that they can expect.
Ask for a Quote
Once you've narrowed down your list of shops, ask for a quote on the work. Most shops will provide this either on paper or via email or text. Aim for an estimate that breaks down parts and labor. Shops that refuse to do this should be avoided as it may indicate that they'll skip important repairs or overcharge for parts.
Also, be sure to ask about warranties and if they honor your manufacturer's warranty. In addition, check how long the average employee has worked at the shop. A high turnover rate can be a red flag, so look for a shop that has stable and dedicated employees.
You can also test out a shop by having them perform a small maintenance job like an oil change or tire rotation. This can give you a good idea of how well they treat their customers, how quickly they respond and more. It's a great way to gauge their customer service, affordability and timeliness before you entrust them with a bigger repair. In addition, you can get a feel for their cleanliness and organization as well.
Check the License
Depending on where you live, state or local law may require that repair shops be licensed. You can check with your local consumer protection agency or attorney general's office for more information. It's also a good idea to look for certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. This will indicate that the technicians are properly trained and your car is in the hands of an ASE certified auto repair shop
You should also ask the shop if it has a written estimate for work to be done. This should identify the condition to be repaired, the parts needed, and the estimated labor charge. It should also state that the shop will contact you for approval before doing any work exceeding a specified amount of time or cost.
Some repair shops have a single main mechanic, and this can make for long wait times. You may want to choose a shop that has multiple bays and a larger staff if you need quick service. It's important to remember that you are paying for the technician's time, so you should be happy with the quality of their work.
Check Their Credentials
Look for certifications from the automotive industry, such as the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) seal of approval or the AAA (American Automobile Association) seal. This is a good indication that the mechanic is competent and will provide quality service.
Some shops specialise in certain makes of cars, so it's important to find out if they're equipped to handle your vehicle's make and model. A shop that specializes in your vehicle's brand may have the right tools, parts and technical knowledge to fix it quickly and effectively.
Moreover, you should also check whether the shop follows the manufacturer's maintenance schedule recommended in your car owner's manual. Some repair shops create their own schedules and recommend more frequent servicing than what is necessary.
Additionally, watch out for auto repair shops that don't allow you to join their technician on a ride along. These types of shops may be shady and should be avoided at all costs. Also, look for a shop that clearly outlines the work they've done and what they charge for. This will help you avoid any surprises.
A good mechanic should be willing to explain the problem and its solution in laymen’s terms. They should also be willing to show you the repairs. A reputable shop will respect your car’s maintenance schedule. However, if they suggest additional services that aren’t in the owner’s manual, ask why. Ask for Recommendations Ask for recommendations…
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