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How to Choose a Repair Shop

What Should I Look For When Choosing A Repair Shop?

  1. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and other people you trust.
  2. Look for an auto repair shop before you need one to avoid being rushed into a last-minute decision.
  3. Shop around by telephone for the best deal, and compare warranty policies on repairs.
  4. Look for a neat, well organized shop with modern up-to-date equipment in the service area.
  5. Look for a professional and courteous staff who are willing to answer all your questions.
  6. Ask to see current licenses and certifications.  Also, your state Attorney General's office or local consumer protection agency may know whether there's a record of complaints about a particular repair shop.  So check them out.
  7. Make sure the shop will honor your vehicle's warranty.
  8. Look for shops that display various certifications - like an Automotive Service Excellence seal(ASE).

    Certification indicates that some or all of the technicians meet basic standards of knowledge and competence in specific technical areas.

    Make sure the certifications are current, but remember, certification alone is no guarantee of good or honest work.
  9. Ask if the technician or shop has experience working on the same make or model vehicle as yours.
  10. Ask how the shop prices its work.  Some shops charge a flat rate per hour for labor on auto repairs.  This published rate is based on an independent or manufacturer's estimate of the time required to complete repairs.  Others charge on the basis of the actual time the technician worked on the repair.
  11. If you need expensive or complicated repairs, or if you have questions about recommended work, consider getting a second opinion.
  12. Find out if there will be a diagnostic charge if you decide to have the work performed elsewhere. Many repair shops charge for diagnostic time.
  13. If you decide to get the work done, ask for a written estimate.  It should identify the condition to be repaired, the parts needed, and the anticipated labor charge.  Make sure you get a signed copy.  And read the fine print!
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