Like a lot of Cars for Girls readers, I’ve moved extensively living on the West Coast, the East Coast and various points (both big and small) in between, so I can sympathize with those of you who have recently moved and are trying to find a reputable and fair repair shop in your new locale.
Selecting a new repair shop need not be difficult, but selecting the right repair shop is critical, so I hope readers find the following tips helpful when selecting a new repair shop they can trust.
1. Ask for Recommendations from New Neighbors and/or Co-Workers
Often times the best car repair shops are found by word of mouth; the repair shops your new neighbors and co-workers visit. While you’re at it, ask the name of their favorite mechanic at the shop, if they know who owns the shop, how long the shop has been in business and what the general cost is for a tune-up.
2. Look for Credentials
When visiting a new shop, look around. Notice if the shop has any credentials on display, perhaps a membership in the Better Business Bureau (BBB), National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification and any memberships in various trade associations. These credentials and membership affiliations are important they represent an indication of professionalism and your assurance that management is committed to the profession.
3. Ask Questions
If you don’t see credentials, it’s perfectly fine to ask. Ask the attendant or mechanic on duty about Automotive Service Excellence certification, as well as anything else you might want to know, like hours of operation, how many mechanics are employed in the shop or what warranties they offer.
4. Customer Service
Customer service and satisfaction are vital when seeking a new repair shop, so make certain you feel comfortable while you’re there. Are you greeted in a friendly manner? Are you greeted respectfully? Are you questions answered in a respectable, friendly and knowledgeable manner? If you phone ahead, note how you are treated on the phone this is oftentimes a good indication of how you will be treated in person.
5. Clean & Tidy
Is the repair shop waiting area clean and well organized? Cleanliness and organization are quality signs of a well-run repair shop.
6. Written Estimates
Does the repair shop provide you with a written estimate? The shop should always provide you with a written estimate of work to be performed and request your signature before beginning any repair work on your vehicle.
Ask if the repair shop offers a warranty on labor and parts for the repair work your vehicle needs. Most repair shops will offer a written warranty. If not, it’s best to find a repair shop that does.
8. Better Business Bureau
Call the Better Business Bureau, or visit the BBB website (http://www.bbb.org/) to discover if the repair shop is a member of the BBB, as well as if there been any consumer complaints filed, how long the shop has been in business, what the BBB rating for the shop is, and review other information listed in the BBB report. Consumers can also file a complaint report with the BBB on the website, as well.
Remember, your vehicle is a big investment, so make certain it’s being serviced by mechanics you can trust, who answer your questions and who treat you with the respect and professionalism you deserve.