3 Tips on Choosing a Great Auto Repair Shop
For most drivers, keeping auto repair costs under control is the top priority when it comes to choosing a repair shop. But, of course, you also need to keep in mind that the lowest prices don’t always correspond to the best long-term financial outcomes — or the safest repairs. So how can you choose a great repair shop, especially if you don’t know anything about cars? Here are three tips you should always keep in mind:
- Look for Outside Certifications
While it’s not impossible to find a great local auto repair shop that doesn’t require its technicians be certified by an outside body, it’s certainly rare. So if you’re picking a new shop with little else to go on, AAA or ASE certifications (the latter issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) are a good sign. You can also ask about the education and training programs technicians at the shop undergo.
- Require Written Estimates
Every reputable auto repair shop will provide you with a written estimate before performing any work. While some basic maintenance tasks may be listed as flat fees (an oil change, for example, or a tire rotation), major work should be broken down into parts and labor. Keep in mind when looking at the “labor” quote that your technician isn’t actually taking that amount home as an hourly wage, since the shop’s overhead will likely be rolled into that figure.
- If Your Gut Warns You, Listen
Pay attention to your gut feelings about an auto repair shop. If the person you’re talking to seems shady or the quotes seem off, then you need to — at the very least — do some additional research. If you have evidence that contradicts your initial reaction, such as rave reviews from friends or similar quotes from other shops, then you can rethink your decision. But the bottom line is that auto maintenance and repair is based largely on trust, and you need to be comfortable with the staff and practices at the shop you end up choosing.
Do you have any tips to share on choosing a local car repair shop? Join the discussion in the comments.