Auto Repair Shop

  1. Always check reviews! Unlike doctors and lawyers, auto mechanics do not need to pass any classes or tests to be able to work on your car.

 

This means that anyone, literally anyone, could walk into the nearest Home Depot, buy a set of tools and call themselves an auto mechanic. However, review sites such as Google, Yelp and Repairpal have been able to make the auto repair experience much more transparent. Compare the three sites and pick shops with the highest overall rating!

 

  1. Certifications are recommended!

Look for AAA or ASE certifications if the shop is a general repair facility (foreign & domestic). For specialty shops, look for or ask about manufacturer certifications (Audi, Toyota, BMW, Honda…). Some type of certification is always a plus!

 

  1. Ask questions about the establishment!

A good mechanic/service writer should be able to answer all your questions!

 

  1. Ask to see pictures of the damaged areas.

Ask if they can take you into the shop and show you the problem areas in your vehicle. A good shop should have no problem showing you what is wrong with your car right in front of you. If you are too busy to stick around tell them to send you pictures!

 

  1. Warranty!

It is important to find out what type of warranty the shop has for the work done on your car. Most shops offer at least 1-year/12,000 miles on their work!

 

  1. Know the service schedule for your vehicle

It is important for you to know what is required for your vehicle. Every car is different; it is impossible for general repair shops to be able to keep up with the schedule for every car. A good shop has all service schedules handy. Make sure the maintenance work they do matches up with the manufacturer recommended work!

 

  1. Find out if they use original or aftermarket parts

A cheap shop is not always a good shop. Places that are cheap tend to use cheap parts. The best parts are always the ones produced by the manufacturer, although they are more expensive, the quality is always guaranteed. Remember, shops may lie about using original parts. Original parts always have the manufacturer’s logo printed on them; if not, ask them for the box the part came in, it should have the manufacturer’s logo all over it!

 

  1. If you are going to get a second opinion, make sure you get a third too!

People are not perfect, thus shops are not either. People tend to make the mistake of trusting the cheaper option. If you are going to get a second opinion you need to get a third in order to see which option outweighs the other. You are more likely to formulate an accurate conclusion if two out of three shops agree with each other. If you only have two total opinions, you do not want to make the mistake of going with the cheaper option, which may not even fix your car.

 

  1. Good shops find out if certain repairs on your car are under warranty!

A good repair shop should know if certain repairs on your vehicle could be done for free at the dealership. If they don’t know then they should be making the extra effort to find out. To be sure you can always call the dealership yourself!

 

  1. Commission vs. Salary

This is a little bit more difficult to determine. If mechanics and service writers are paid based on how much they sell, then you can conclude that it is in their best interests to sell you as much as possible. To make it clear, most dealerships and large auto repair chains operate under commission-based pay. Although not every dealer experience is a bad one, it is important to be aware about their selling practices.