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Are All Auto Repair Shops Crooks?

It is widely known that most people think they are going to be taken advantage of when they are in need of car repair. Most women are especially concerned because they are less familiar with cars and don’t necessarily understand what they are being sold. Well the good news is there are very few truly dishonest shops out there. In fact it is probably around 5%. In the following article, I will talk about how to find the best shops and how to communicate with them in a way that will probably save you thousands over the life of your automobile.

First thing is about 5% of the shops are crooks actively seeking to rip you off. About 20% of the shops are highly professional and are very good at what they do. The other 75% are good people; they just are not very good at what they do. The reason for this most commonly is because they operate unprofitably which does not allow them to purchase the up to date tools and equipment and more importantly they are not able to invest in the continued education that is essential in this industry.

So how do you find the top 20%? The answer is very simple. The first thing I recommend is to ask your parts store for the names of the top 5 shops in their area. Now just because they buy the most parts, does not mean they are the best. Once you have the names, go interview the shops. Yes, I said interview the shops. It is essential that you do this prior to needing them. Here are a few things you will want to look for:

  • How clean and organized is the shop and waiting room?

  • Do they have their training certificates on display?

  • Are their Technicians ASE certified?

  • What is their philosophy on vehicle maintenance?

  • Are they concerned about helping you take care of your vehicle and prevent repairs?

  • Do they enjoy what they do or are they frustrated with their industry?

  • What is their personal appearance? Do they look professional? (Uniforms)

  • Do they provide complete estimates including parts, labor and all taxes? Then stick to it?

  • Do they have a nationwide warranty?

  • Is the shop able to help you with all aspects of vehicle maintenance and repair?

  • Are they AAA Approved?

Now that you have found the best shop, it is essential that you take your vehicle to them for everything!! It is similar to going to the doctor. If you bounce around from doctor to doctor, no one doctor is able to get to know you, slowing down the diagnostic process. In the world of Auto Repair, time is money. The longer it takes a Technician to diagnose your vehicle, the more money it will cost you.

So how can you help your shop to speed up the process? First thing you can do is to provide all past repair orders for review. This is your vehicles health history. We often say last thing touched, first thing checked. Most repairs stem from either lack of maintenance or a prior repair.

Next thing you can do is to make sure you are able to duplicate the problem when you take your vehicle in. Have someone go on a test drive with you to confirm they know what they are looking for. If the problem always happens when you go over a certain bump in the rain, then this is key information the Technician can use. Be sure the Service Advisor listens to you and writes down word for word the condition you are describing. Information is the key.

And the last thing you can do is to listen to the advice of the professional. If you have chosen the right shop, then they really are trying to steer you right. I see so many customers trying to cut corners by getting cheap parts, trying to supply their own parts or avoid the recommended maintenance. The good shops will eventually turn customers like this away and they will be stuck with the shops in the middle. Remember, good people, just not so good at what they do. If you have been having extreme difficulty finding a good shop, you may be the problem. The good shops are not cheap; however, in the long run they will always be the least expensive.

Well that is all for this week. As always if you have any questions, feel free to visit and send us an email. Happy motoring.

Jeff Bain ASE Master Technician Any BODY’S Garage (417) 973-0333

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