How to Shop For Automotive Repairs and Services

The first and best indicator as to whether or not you will have a pleasant experience having your vehicle repaired or serviced is the reputation of the shop you are thinking of using. All automotive shops earn a reputation either good or bad; it doesn’t just happen.If they diagnose properly, don’t over or under sell the repairs, and keep their promises to customers, they will likely earn a good reputation. If, on the other hand, they allow customers or others to make the diagnosis for them, do not recommend the proper repairs and services, under or overcharge in an effort to make up for their shortcomings, and don’t do what they said they would, customers will stop coming and tell others to do the same.STEP 1: Ask Around
Have your friends, family or co-workers had a vehicle repaired or serviced lately? What was their experience with the shop they chose? Would they recommend it? If not; why not? Keep in mind that most people really don’t want to spend anything to fix a car. Ask about their overall experience and the level of professionalism offered by the staff.STEP 2: Shop for experience and quality rather than price
The experience and certifications of the technicians in a well established shop can save you money even if the shop’s labor rate is higher because they likely can complete the task more efficiently and may perform a higher quality repair that will last longer and provide far better serviceability.STEP 3: Do not self diagnosis – it can be costly
Auto technicians are a lot like doctors. They first have to diagnose the problem before they can recommend the proper repair. When customers self diagnose or take the word of a well meaning friend or relative as to what’s wrong they are likely to call and ask only for the price of the repair. If the diagnosis isn’t accurate they may wind up paying for repairs they don’t need which is the worst possible scenario.Step 4: Get a free diagnostic check by certified technicians before asking about price
In auto repair, asking for a price indicates that you already know you need the repairs even if no one has yet diagnosed the problem and told you for sure. For example: If you call and say, “How much for a transmission for my 1996 Explorer?” you are indicating that you know you need a transmission, even if you really don’t. You may need something far less expensive; a minor repair or maintenance service. The best shops, the ones that will ultimately save you the most money, will not give a price before performing some type of free diagnostic check because they don’t want you to buy unnecessary repairs. They will invite you to bring the vehicle in to be road tested and inspected. Some will even tow it in for no charge if it isn’t drivable or if you are concerned whether or not it will make it to the shop.Step 5: Build your trust and in a repair shop
Once you receive a diagnosis and price, you need to feel like you are putting vehicle in good hands. Make sure the service manager you are working with is providing clear and accurate estimates. Be comfortable with the level of professionalism you are receiving before the job begins. It should be a good indicator of your experience throughout the repair process. It may even be a good idea to research the automotive repair shop’s website and read through testimonials. Look for certifications and inquire about the experience of the staff.If you follow the steps outlined above, it will put YOU in the driver’s seat when choosing the right automotive repair facility. Be sure you are getting a high quality repair for the right price. It will save you money in the long run!