Choosing the Right Shop for your Vehicle
No matter what you drive--sports car, family sedan, pick-up, minivan, or SUV,
when you go in for repairs or service, you want the job done right. Perhaps
years ago, a shade-tree mechanic whose only credentials were a tool box and
busted knuckles was enough. But today's high-tech vehicles need more ...
and today's quality conscious consumers demand more. The following advice
from ASE should take much of the guesswork out of finding a good repair
- Don't just drop your vehicle off at the nearest establishment and hope for
the best. That's not choosing a shop, that's merely gambling.
- Read your owner's manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow
the manufacturer's suggested service schedule.
- Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can
make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.
- Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. Even in this
high-tech era, old-fashioned word-of-mouth reputation is still valuable.
- Check with your local consumer organization (i.e. Better Business
Bureau) regarding the reputation of the shop.
- If possible, arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will
not feel forced to choose a facility solely on the basis of location.
- Once you choose a repair shop, start off with a minor job; if you are
pleased, trust them with more complicated repairs later.
II. At the Shop
- Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot
equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
- Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff.
The service writer should be willing to answer all of your questions.
- Feel free to ask for the names of a few customers. Call them.
- All policies (labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, methods of payment, etc.) should be available and/or explained to your satisfaction.
- Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Some
- Ask if the shop usually does your type of repair, especially if you need
- Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area: civic and
community service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, and
customer service awards.
- Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas,
certificates of advanced course work, and other certifications that show
standards of technician competence.
- Keep good records; keep all paperwork.
- Reward good service with repeat business and referrals. It is mutually
beneficial to you and the shop owner to establish a relationship.
- If the service was not all you expected, don't rush to another shop.
Discuss the problem with the service manager or owner. Give the business a
chance to resolve the problem. Reputable shops value customer feedback and
will make a sincere effort to keep your business.
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