Finding the right auto repair shop is much like finding a good family doctor. It takes time and research. Visit a new auto repair shop between 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon when it is easier to talk to the owner or manager and ask any questions pertaining to your particular vehicle and see if their services comply with your vehicle’s needs.
Schedule a visit to an auto repair shop before your car needs repair- We recommend you visit the auto repair shop before your vehicle needs to be fixed. It can save you a lot of money. Usually if your car needs repair it is something that will require immediate attention. A hasty choice of an auto repair shop can lead to costly service fees and overpriced maintenance. Do your research ahead of time.
Shop around- Visit multiple auto repair shops to ensure your vehicle will be handled properly when something goes wrong. Bring pen and paper to take notes at each shop. When inspecting each repair shop take note of things listed below:
Clean and well organized lobby & garage.
Polite, helpful staff that is willing to answer questions.
Look for certifications of AAA or ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence).
Looks for membership in associations such as BBB, SAE, ASP and ATEA.
Inspect repair facility and ensure equipment is up to date and well-maintained.
A reputable auto repair shop should offer all of the qualities mentioned above. Take good notes so you can compare businesses when you get home. Also, be sure to make note of their charges. Are their labor charges by the hour or by the job, and how much?
Word of Mouth- Ask friends you trust about their previous experiences with auto repair shops. Whether the reviews are good or bad, they will be helpful in your research. In addition, it is a good idea to check out the auto repair shop’s website (if applicable) and read reviews from customers. Take these with a grain of salt, as businesses are able to manipulate reviews and comments online, to their benefit. Word of mouth recommendations can often produce mixed reviews and we suggest that you visit the shop before deciding to do business with them.
Location- It’s easy to choose a shop based on proximity to your home. However, it is important to check out other service centers within about a 20 minute radius. Dealers just outside of town can often have lower service charges. The only disadvantage of a longer drive is getting your car there in an emergency. Be sure to ask if they offer to pick you up or drop you off where you need to go, within reason.
Overhead Costs- While on your visit to your auto service center make note of how many workers are in the office. More office workers mean higher overhead, which in turn causes the repair shop to charge you higher rates.
Don’t forget how very important it is to build a relationship with your mechanic. Maintaining the same mechanic over the long term allows you to build a rapport. Take the time to get to know them and build trust and respect. A mechanic is then more likely to go out of their way to help you.