If you haven’t had a regular mechanic is recent years, now is the time to find one.
Here are a few points to consider:
* Less than 40 percent of new customers in auto shops are walk-ins. That means word of mouth is still king in the industry. Find a shop that gets rave reviews from family and friends, and you’ll be in good hands.
* The Better Business Bureau can inform you about the repair shop’s performance and reliability.
* If you travel often, consider a shop that offers a national warranty. For instance, a warranty of 12,000 miles or 12 months is handy for issues that keep cropping up, particularly in older cars.
* Ask about the shop’s range of services. They will need the latest technology to diagnose problems with newer cars. For example, can your prospective shop handle brake systems, electrical components and warranty repairs? Does the shop provide a loaner, rental car, or shuttle service while your car is being repaired?
* Look around the shop. Is the equipment in good condition? Is it clean, well-lit and organized? These factors all contribute to a level of professionalism.
* Look for brand names and proper certification. Does the auto repair shop use brand-name parts? These parts are engineered to meet the manufacturer’s specifications and will likely come with a warranty. Shops may use remade or generic brands which your insurance policy may not cover, so be sure to check.
* Are the auto technicians certified by a specific car manufacturer, the National Institute for Automotive Services or Automotive Science Excellence? Is the shop approved by the American Automobile Association? If so, this indicates a customer approval rating of 90 percent or higher and the ability to adequately perform the services advertised.
* Compare the services and fees of each shop in the area to find out the average price ranges.
Don’t pick a shop based on cost; poor repair work will mean higher costs in the long run. You’ll also want to ask about the shop’s warranty policy. Imagine spending hundreds on a repair only to learn the work isn’t guaranteed.
Once you have found a shop you trust, establish a good working relationship and try to use the shop for all of your automotive needs. Your mechanic will come to know you as a dependable customer and always be sure to provide you the highest level of service.