Shops employing ASE-certified technicians are an excellent place to start, particularly if they come highly recommended by friends or family. Also look out for shops which are AAA approved, meaning someone from the auto club personally inspects and handles complaints against them.
Question their guarantee terms and limitations before proceeding. Also get estimates in writing.
Word of mouth or recommendations are an excellent way to find quality auto repair shops. Check the professional appearance of each facility as well as amenities like clean bathrooms and shuttle services to return you quickly to work.
Look out for blue-and-white ASE certification emblems; this signifies that mechanics have passed tests administered by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence and earned this credential. Mechanics who possess this credential can often be relied upon to complete quality work while preventing unnecessary repairs.
Finally, consider how experienced the mechanic or shop is with your specific make and model of car. Some shops specialize in certain makes/models of vehicles; therefore it is key that you find one with enough expertise in order to troubleshoot effectively and complete the task at hand efficiently.
Ask about their warranty policy and complaint resolution process. Many states have consumer protection departments or attorney general’s offices which can help you investigate a particular shop’s history.
Look for Certifications
An effective way to determine a shop’s reliability is to research their credentials. Search for shops with an ASE certification, which shows they’ve passed tests and possess the skills necessary for working on cars. Furthermore, all mechanics should also be licensed by their state.
Consider shopping with shops that provide warranties and senior discounts as these are good indicators that they care for their customers and will go the extra mile to ensure they’re taken care of.
Mattinat advises interacting with each shop’s managers and mechanics to determine whether they are friendly and caring enough. If not, she says it could be an indication that they do not know what they’re doing and won’t provide value for your money. Furthermore, Mattinat suggests asking them to demonstrate your car so you’re more informed of any repairs being performed; this demonstrates honesty and transparency as well.
Check the Reviews
After taking time and care in selecting and researching your car, it makes sense to invest just as much effort into finding an honest mechanic once your warranty has lapsed. Review sites such as Mechanic Advisor or RepairPal provide useful insight into each shop’s reputation and customer service levels.
Read reviews that address how long a shop has been open and their history in handling complaints. BBB profiles can also give an indication of their willingness to address consumer needs.
As well as reading reviews, consider looking at photos of the shop to determine its cleanliness and professionalism. Look out for amenities, such as comfortable waiting areas that can make the experience less stressful. Don’t be shy to inquire about pricing; there may be good reason for one repair to be more costly than another due to things such as extended warranties on parts or special tools being used.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Be proactive and ask prospective shops questions to gauge whether or not they genuinely value their customers. A good shop should be willing to address all inquiries and put you at ease; this is one way of finding out which truly care for their clientele.
Reputable mechanics will also be able to explain why repairs cost what they do, although there may be exceptions in any profession; most mechanics truly are there to assist you and make sure your car runs its best.
Shops that compete on price alone should be avoided to maximize value for your money. Look for shops with fair pricing, hiring qualified technicians, and operating a clean facility; test out these shops by scheduling small repair jobs such as an oil change or tire rotation before investing in larger repairs.