How to Choose an Auto Repair Shop

What should you look for when selecting an auto repair shop? The best advice is ALWAYS as for recommendations from friends, relatives, family, and other people you trust. Fellow employee's and workmates are a good place to start. Best if you locate a reputable auto repair shop before you actually need one. This way you avoid being rushed into a last-minute decision.

Use the telephone or Internet

Shop around by using the telephone or Internet for the best deal, and then compare warranty policies on your repairs that need doing. Inquire to see their licenses and note if they're current or not. If there's state or local law which requires auto repair shops to be licensed or registered. A good idea is to make contact with your state Attorney General's office or local consumer protection agency and see whether there's a record of complaints about a particular auto repair shop. Above all, make sure the auto shop will honor your vehicle's warranty.

Important areas to consider

* Become familiar with your owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's suggested service schedule. A motor vehicle owner's manual contains a wealth of information so it's a good idea to carefully read through it before you spend lots of your time searching in other areas. Why? Because the information that you seek could very well be right under your nose.

* It's a good idea to shop around for an auto repair shop before you actually need one; it will help when making decisions because you're not in rush or in a panic. Don't just pick the first auto repair shop that you come across. A little bit of extra effort and time spent in this direction can pay off in big dividends and wind-up saving you a bundle of cash in the process.

* It's always best to seek recommendations from friends and associates. The old-fashioned word-of-mouth reputation is still the best advice you can truly count on.

* Look for a tidy, well-organized auto repair shop, with cars in their parking lot of similar age and value as your own.

* All shop policies including labor costs, guarantees, methods of payment, etc., should be in open view to the public.

* Find out if the auto repair shop you're considering using usually does your type of repair, especially if you need major mechanical work.

* Are they a professional shop with a clean customer service area? Believe it or not a clean and well organized workshop is a good sign of a professional auto repair service. Why? Because it shows that they take pride in their work and want to provide the very best of service to their customers.

* Do they display any civic and community service awards, long-term membership in the Better Business Bureau, AAA-Approved Auto Repair status, customer service awards, etc. Put in a bit of extra leg work and research in this area, and it will reward you both now and with any future servicing (and, costly repair jobs) you may need to get done. Find helpful advice on how to deal with a blown head gasket.