5 Tips for Choosing an Auto Repair Shop
After a brutal winter, it’s important to get your car checked over to make sure all its components are in proper working order. But deciding where to take your car for maintenance or repairs can be a challenge, especially when you’re surrounded by multiple chains and dealerships begging for your business. Follow these five tips for choosing an auto repair shop, and you should end up finding someone you can trust.
- Ask Friends for Referrals. The best way to find a trustworthy mechanic is to ask those you trust for their recommendations. Your aunt or best friend might know the perfect mechanic that will give you straightforward advice and repair your car quickly and efficiently. On the flip side, your friends can also warn you against bad mechanics they might have come across in the past.
- Check Out Online Reviews. In this day and age, hardly anyone buys an item—small or large—without first checking its Amazon reviews. Why should choosing a mechanic be any different? Check out Yelp, Google Maps, and DealerRater for reviews from real customers—both good and bad—that will help you choose a quality mechanic from the get-go.
- Start Looking in Advance. Rather than waiting to find a mechanic until you need one, start looking around as soon as you buy your car or move to a new location. If you try to make a decision when you’re under pressure—for example when your alternator is busted—you’re more likely to rush your decision and potentially end up going someplace untrustworthy.
- Visit the Repair Shop. Look for technicians’ diplomas or National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) training certificates on display in the waiting room. Additionally, labor rates, payment information, guarantees, and fees should be posted in the front office. Also look out for any plaques or certificates naming awards, community projects, or BBB affiliation as a mark of an honest repair shop.
- Start Small. When you’ve chosen a repair shop that you think sounds reputable, take your car in for something minor, like an oil change or tire rotation. If you’re satisfied with the price, quality, and timeliness of the service, you should be more confident if and when you need to take your car in for a more serious repair.