Deciding where to get your vehicle repaired is an important task. When you do get your car repaired at a new auto repair shop, you want it to be with the highest quality of service. The problem is that it can be hard to find a good shop, and you might have to check in a few before you find a good one. Several factors need to be considered when selecting an auto repair shop.
If you are sending your car to a repair shop, you are probably frustrated with the repair cost. Why not try to do the work yourself? While this may seem like a good idea, it can be hazardous if you are not adequately trained in auto repair. Even with the best intentions, you may cause more damage to your car if you are not experienced in this field. When choosing a repair shop, look for one that is equipped to handle the situation.
Selecting auto repair shops can be a headache especially when you consider the insane number of options that are out there. In the US alone, you’ll find more than 263,000 registered shops or around 5,200 in every state.
That doesn’t count the number of DIY-ers who’ll promise to do the work at a cut-rate price. (Use caution, you get what you pay for!) In this article, we share five things to look for when picking out a shop that you can trust.
One of the first factors to consider is their auto repair experience. You can get a real sense of this by how long they’ve been in business.
Your municipality’s licensing division should have a record of how long the shop has been operating. You may not have to go that far with your investigation, however.
You can usually find that information out through the Better Business Bureau as well. The shop’s website will also tell you, but it’s always a good idea to verify your trust.
- What Others Are Saying
In the pre-internet age, you trusted friends, family, and other customers you might stumble across to guide you. That’s no longer necessary, although people you know are still great sources of firsthand information if they have any.
If not, don’t worry. Reading online reviews will give you a sense of how the shop does with a consensus of customers. You can also read individual thoughts, both praising and criticizing.
Do your homework, but don’t trust every word you read either. Contrary to what some would have you believe, the customer is not always right.
- How Prices Compare
Comparing repair costs consists of looking at two numbers: parts and labor. Parts should be similar no matter where you go. Labor, on the other hand, can vary wildly.
Larger shops have higher overhead. That can equate to higher hourly rates to cover the cost of doing business. Smaller shops might be a cheaper way to go, but pay close attention to experience.
- Specific Certifications
Certified auto repair shops are not automatically the best, but they do offer you some peace of mind. Look for the seal of approval from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
This certification body is the gold standard for certification of auto repair shops stateside. You should also check the BBB and with your local chamber of commerce.
The last area you’ll want to focus on when selecting an auto repair shop is geographic location. The reasons for this are two-fold: cost and convenience.
Obviously, you want the job done right, so the cost can’t be your only guiding factor, but the further away you take your car, the more it will become counterproductive. Convenience is another factor not to take for granted.
If your car is in the shop for a while, you’ll have more costs associated with travel, gas mileage, time away from work, and getting a rental. Plus, there are plenty of qualified auto shops in your area, so there’s little point in casting too wide of a net.
You can test several shops out on a smaller scale by getting your preventative maintenance done at different ones. Read this article for the importance of preventative measures.
Know Your Plan When Selecting Auto Repair Shops
Having a plan when selecting auto repair shops will keep you from wasting too much time and money on a questionable business. Keep the factors above in mind as you set out on your search, and you’ll be pleased with the results.
For more automotive tips and articles, check out some of our additional posts!