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Tips on finding the right auto repair shop

What to look for in a repair shop.


  • Credentials: If your state requires shops to be licensed, make sure that the license is in effect. Look for an auto shop whose technicians are ASE Certified as signified by the symbol below.


ASE

For information on The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence & what it stands for click on the ASE symbol.
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  • Good References: Talk with people you know and ask them to recommend a shop. Ask them whether they are satisfied with the work they had done and whether they feel they got value for their money. Check with agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, your state or local Consumer Affairs Department or Motor Vehicle Department to make sure the shop you sellect has no significant outstanding complaints against them.


  • Convenient Location: Whenever possible, deal with a local shop where the personnel will get to know you and your vehicle.


  • Reasonable Prices: Find out the shop`s hourly labor rate to get a general idea of the prices you can expect. Keep in mind that this is only a guide and it may be ultimately less expensive to pay a little more for the services of a more experienced technician at a better equipped shop.


  • Good Customer Relations: To a great extent your satisfaction with a repair shop will depend upon how well they communicate with you.


  1. Do they treat you courteously and listen to your explanation of why you are bringing the vehicle in?


  2. Do they make certain that they understand exactly what work you want done, including whether you want them to only diagnose a problem or to proceed with the repairs?


  3. Are they careful to ascertain how much you are willing to spend and when you will need the vehicle?


  4. Do they clearly explain what is wrong with your vehicle and what your choices are?


  • Good customer relations also depend upon good recordkeeping in the sense that all questions about maintenance and warranties are more easily dealt with by a shop where personnel have access to your vehicle`s history. Ideally a shop should have computerized customer records.


  • Professional Appearance: A clean and orderly shop can be an indication that people take pride in their work; however, I have known mechanics whose shops look like grease bombs exploded in them, who did fine work and solved difficult problems. But this is the exception, so use your own judgment.


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