Dec 10, 2005

Car Tip 21 - Choosing the Right Repair Shop

Choosing the Right Repair Shop

No matter what you drive--sports car, family sedan, pick-up, or mini-van, when you go in for repairs or service, you want the job done right. The following advice should take much of the guesswork out of finding a good repair establishment.

I. Preliminaries

Don't just drop your vehicle off at the nearest establishment and hope for the best. That's not choosing a shop, that's merely gambling.

* Read your owner's manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow the manufacturer's suggested service schedule.

* Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.

* Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. Even in this high-tech era, old-fashioned word-of-mouth reputation is still valuable.

* Check with your local consumer organization regarding the reputation of the shop in question.

* If possible, arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a facility solely on the basis of location.

Once you choose a repair shop, start off with a minor job; if you are pleased, trust them with more complicated repairs later

II. At the Shop

* Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.

* Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff. The service writer should be willing to answer all of your questions.

* Feel free to ask for the names of a few customers. Call them.

* All policies (labor rates, guarantees, methods of payment, etc.) should be posted and/or explained to your satisfaction.

* Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Some facilities specialize.

* Ask if the shop usually does your type of repair, especially if you need major work.

* Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area: civic and community service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, AAA-Approved Auto Repair status, customer service awards.
The backbone of any shop is the competence of the technicians.

* Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and ASE certifications--a national standard of technician competence.


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