Choosing the right automotive repair shop is an important decision for you and your family. After all, nearly everyone owns a car, and all cars require periodic maintenance and repairs. In this blog article I will give you tips on how to choose a local auto repair shop. These tips are based on my 45-plus years in in the automotive industry, plus from my personal experiences listening and building relationships with customers as an automotive repair shop owner since 1980.
- Don’t wait until you need an automotive repair or service
Just like choosing a doctor or dentist, don’t wait until your car isn’t running right or in need of service. Do your homework. Ask family, friends, and your neighbors for recommendations. You should also go to the repair shop’s website, Facebook page and other social media channels. Check online reviews too. However, understand that no one is perfect, and no business can please everyone. Most important is how the owner of the shop responds to all reviews.
- Visit the auto repair shop
Once you have found a repair shop, contact them, and ask to meet and speak with the owner or manager. Be prepared with questions such as: How long have they been in business? What training does the shop provide for the technicians? What certifications does the shop and employees have? Lastly: What vehicles models does the shop work on? Also, look around the waiting area and in the shop. Is it clean, neat, and organized? This tells a lot about the culture of the shop.
- Know your Rights
You, as the owner of your vehicle, have the right to get your car serviced at the auto repair shop of your choice. No car manufacturer can demand that you must return to the new-car dealer or use originally equipped parts in order to maintain your new-car warranty. Having your car serviced by a local independent automotive repair shop will not void your new-car warranty.
For more information on your rights as a car owner, click here.
- New car dealership or independent auto repair shop?
New car dealers usually receive training and are equipped to work on one car model. In addition, dealer technicians mostly work on newer cars, and perform factory warranty repairs, factory recalls and other related services. Local independent auto repair shop technicians are trained on many different car lines and independent shops are equipped to work on many car models. This is appealing to consumers since most households usually own different car makes and models.
Local independent auto repair shops and dealerships can usually handle all your car care needs, such as oil changes, brakes, tires, steering, suspension, check engine lights, scheduled vehicle maintenance, tire rotations, wheel alignment and many other services and repairs.
- Don’t judge on price alone
Prices vary among new car dealerships and independent auto repair shops. The reason for that depends on what type of services are performed and how the different shops structure their repairs and services. It’s really hard to compare many repairs and services. For example, one shop might give you a price for a water pump replacement, while another shop may also want to replace the antifreeze with the water pump.
My best advice is to compare apples to apples and ask a lot of questions. All repair shops want to give the consumer the best price they can. However, their process of performing auto repairs and service may differ, which will reflect in the price. One thing is for sure, the cheapest priced auto repair shop in town is probably not the shop you want to go to.
The modern automobile is a complex machine, with more computer power than the space crafts had that we sent to the moon! Your car is literally a network of computers on wheels. Training and the proper equipment is an investment that only the best auto repair shops make. Remember, when looking for a doctor or attorney, we can all agree that the cheapest is not the best.
- Build a relationship and become a loyal customer
Once you have found your auto repair shop, build a relationship. Get to know the technicians, the people in the service department and the owner. Ask a lot of questions each time you are in for a simple Oil Change, tire rotation, New York State inspection or an extensive automotive repair. You want the shop to know who you are, your driving habits and your particular needs. This will make a more enjoyable experience for you, lower your stress level, and help to ensure that you have safe and reliable transportation.
I hope these tips were helpful. You can always contact me for more information, click here.
Joe Marconi, Osceola Garage owner