It's important to find a trustworthy auto repair shop to serve as a car's primary caregiver. When a driver sticks with a regular service center, the technicians there will get to know their vehicle and its history. They'll have maintenance and repair records on hand and be able to quickly identify problems.
Of course, finding a good and trustworthy auto repair shop can be challenging. There are plenty of them around, but it isn't always easy to identify one that has high standards, great service and decent prices. After all, no one wants to find out that they're going to a subpar center that's just down the road from an excellent shop.
What to Look for in an Auto Repair Shop
Ideally, a car owner should look for an auto repair shop before they actually need one. It's hard to be objective in the middle of a vehicle crisis. So, try to establish a relationship with a service center before a major repair is called for.
A good repair shop should offer the following:
- Highly trained technicians who do dependable work
- Good customer service from a friendly staff
- Prices that are at least competitive
- An organized and efficient environment
In order to make it easier to find a reliable service center, both CarCare.org and The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) have advice to offer.
Tips on Finding the Right Auto Repair Shop
Asking friends and family members for recommendations is a good way to get started. And once a short list of service centers is assembled, online reviews should be checked. It's always helpful to find out what existing customers have to say about a business, good or bad.
Finally, when it's time to visit repair shops with good reviews, there are questions that should be asked. For example:
- Are the mechanics employed there ASE-certified? There should be credentials posted in the shop.
- Are written estimates provided? A service center customer should always be made aware of what they will be paying before being asked to sign anything.
- Does the shop offer any type of warranty? This info may be posted in the waiting area or available in writing upon request.
- Is the interior of the service center reasonably clean and well-maintained? Granted, it is a garage, so it probably won't be spotless. But it is a business, so it should still reflect a professional image. Look for modern equipment, tidy storage areas and a comfortable waiting area.
- Are the employees friendly? Even if a place employs excellent mechanics and uses top-notch equipment, dealing with a rude staff will get old quickly.
If everything seems to check out with a particular auto repair shop, scheduling a small service first is recommended. This should be something simple, like an oil change. If this goes well, it should be easier to confidently request more complicated tasks.
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