Figuring out who you can trust to fix and maintain your car is hard enough, but figuring out who is going to make honest recommendations can be even more difficult! Unfortunately, that is not an unfounded fear since so many people in the auto industry are not up front and honest. Because of this, our friends at Team Ryan Automotive have put together some valuable tips for our readers. We hope you find these helpful!
1. Reviews. The best indication of future experience is based on past performance. Check out what people are saying on Google, Facebook or other reviews and social media sites. A personal referral may hold even more weight to convince you to try a new place out, but online reviews are the modern-day referral network. At minimum, you should look for a place with at least 50 google reviews and a 4.3 star rating or better. If an auto repair shop is piling up negative reviews and has less than a 4.3, you can save your time and continue your search elsewhere.
2. Authorizing Work. Don’t authorize work until you are completely comfortable with their explanation! A professional repair facility should be able to clearly and comfortably explain the scope of work needed to diagnose and repair your vehicle. If needed, they should have no problem providing pictures of the part of the car that they are discussing with you. If pictures are not an option, they should show you on the vehicle. Don’t let them get away with being obscure. A good and honest shop will be ready, willing and able to show you what is going on with your vehicle.
3. Price. Make sure you understand the price upfront. It is the shop’s responsibility to explain the price for what you are purchasing. Unfortunately, many shops are not as up front and clear with customers as they should be. Be your own advocate and make sure you understand exactly what is being done for what amount
4. Warranty. Does the shop have a warranty? Does it cover both parts and labor? Some places will have a very short warranty or have loop holes in their warranty offering. Did you know most dealerships only have a 12 month / 12,000 mile warranty on their repairs? We recommend that the shop maintaining or repairing your vehicle have at least a 2 year / 24,000 mile warranty.
5. Qualifications. How can you tell if the technicians at an auto repair shop really know what they are doing? Ask if the mechanic working on your vehicle is ASE certified. Even more specifically, ask what certifications they have because you want to make sure that they are certified in the actual repair that your car needs. For example, if your vehicle needs a check engine light diagnostic, you want to make sure your technician is certified in that specific area. You wouldn’t want a podiatrist operating on your heart would you? ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence, and it is the benchmark for technician certification. The only way a shop can be recognized with this designation is by having a very high percentage of certified employees. Don’t be satisfied with unqualified mechanics “fixing” your car. Find out more about ASE and use the shop locator here.
6. Dealerships: There is a misconception that new car dealerships have unrivaled service technicians, the newest equipment and the best service. A lot of times this simply is not the case. It is common for dealerships to have a large number of entry-level mechanics with a very small number of certified and experienced technicians. It is very difficult to know with certainty what level of technician is servicing your vehicle, and the odds are not in your favor! We have all been in a situation where we felt like nothing more than a number, and that is no way to feel when you are getting your vehicle serviced.
7. Scheduling. Effective scheduling can at times seem like a lost art. This is a good indication of the overall professionalism of a shop. Before the process even begins, they should be able to give you a clear idea of when a technician will be starting on your vehicle and at least an estimate on how long the repairs will take. Of course, the larger the repair or service, the more variables there are in the process, but this is OK! The key here is clear communication of what is known right now, and an expectation set by the shop of when further information will be available.
8. Shuttle or Loaner Car. What happens if you don’t have a spare car? Will the auto repair shop give you a ride home or to work? Or even better, do they have a loaner car that you can use while your car is in the shop?
9. Treatment. It is the shop’s job to make the process for having maintenance and repair done on your car as easy for you as possible. If you feel like they are making things challenging, then feel good about yourself by taking your business elsewhere.
10. Presentation. You can tell a lot about a place by how it looks. Is the shop clean and well maintained? What does the office look like? Automotive repair is very detailed work, the facility as a whole needs to be neat, clean and organized. This is a good indication that the employees take pride in their work, and with that you can be confident that you will receive quality service.
Have questions about your car or truck? Team Ryan Automotive is ready to answer them. Click here to Contact.