Every car owner needs to take their vehicle to an Auto Repair shop at one point, whether for a minor tuneup or a major repair. But if you’re new to car ownership or don’t know much about cars, finding the right shop can be intimidating. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to get great service from a quality Auto Repair shop.
Auto mechanics work in well-equipped garages called “shops.” These are designated spaces equipped with tools, equipment and diagnostic technology specific to auto repairs. They typically have several service bays to accommodate multiple vehicles at once. Shops are generally clean, organized and professional-looking. They should have comfortable waiting areas, a clear description of the work to be performed and the estimated cost, and the name and credentials of the technician responsible for the repair.
Some shops create maintenance schedules that call for servicing more often than the manufacturer’s recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual. Ask if this is the case with your shop’s recommendations, and request an explanation if it is. Also, ask if your shop offers warranty coverage on repaired parts and services. If it does, make sure you understand the terms and limitations of the warranty — and that the warranty is in writing.
A quality Auto Repair shop will have a written invoice for any work that costs more than $50, and the shop should be able to provide a copy of your vehicle’s odometer reading when it was brought into the shop and when it was picked up after the repair. The invoice should clearly explain the work that was done, the parts and labor charges, and any deductibles or other restrictions. In addition, the bill should state who signed the invoice and indicate any certifications that the repair technician holds.
It’s a good idea to talk with the shop’s manager or owner about any unsatisfactory repairs you receive. But if that doesn’t resolve the issue, you can contact your local consumer protection agency or manufacturer zone office to see if they have any records of complaints against the shop. You can also file a claim with your credit card company, which has strong dispute-resolution laws that protect you from being ripped off by repair shops.
If you have a specialty vehicle, such as a hybrid, find out if the shop has experience working on it. When hybrids first came on the market, many mechanics were unfamiliar with them, and that led to higher prices for repairs. Today, more shops have the knowledge and equipment to repair hybrids at lower cost. Ask for this information before you bring your vehicle in.