Auto repair is the one constant with anyone who owns a car, and most drivers dread it; in the current economy, even such a simple thing as an oil change has quadrupled in price (which is one reason auto repair shops with payment plans are so popular). And the days are long gone when a man could take his rattling, misbehaving old jalopy over to Wallys, where Wally would bang around a bit, charge fifty bucks and have the car running smooth as silk again.
With the advent of the computerized engine, auto repair shops must have repair professionals on hand with extensive experience and education in computer diagnostics, hydraulics, business and promotion and automotive innovation. All certified mechanics now go through extensive automotive training classes and continuing education workshops.
In the light of that, it only makes sense to seek out auto repair shops that employ ASE (Automotive Search Excellence) Certified mechanics. The shop should be affiliated with creditable businesses, such as AAA, and have their credentials and policies for repair and pricing clearly posted.
Before one visits the shop, its advisable first of all to ask friends and colleagues where they take their cars for servicing, and if they are satisfied with their service. Online reviews are also helpful at this point, as they give a good impressive of overall customer satisfaction (particularly if there are numerous reviews of the service station, since only a few reviews, all positive or all negative, will skew results for the business).
When one visits the service centers in person, one should find them clean, orderly and purposeful, with employees continually engaged in the business at hand. A backup of a number of autos awaiting repair isnt necessarily a bad thing, but it may indicate that the mechanics are slower than the norm; the average car repair, nationally, is one to two hours maximum, and the only viable slowdown is awaiting parts.
The shops personnel should be willing to thoroughly discuss the repairs, offer free estimates, and always use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts and suppliers. Dealerships are a great deal more expensive, but they do offer all of these conditions, plus guarantees of perfect work, which not every shop can deliver.
If all of this is a bit overwhelming, its made a lot easier if one knows a professional driver, such as a limo or taxi driver; they can usually guide a consumer to good, reasonably inexpensive shops also.
In the light of all the expertise needed for auto repair, and the research necessary to find a good mechanic, its no surprise that more and more businesses are attempting to assist customers in paying the prices they must charge to repair vehicles. Thats why auto repair shops with payment plans are becoming more and more the norm.
The shop itself will seldom work out a payment plan for the customer, but numerous repair chains throughout the country work with local lenders to obtain loans for individuals. The only drawback, of course, is that one may have bad credit; a regular bank will not loan money under those circumstances, obviously.
The last place anyone looking for a loan for car repairs should think of, however, is a paycheck loan establishment; these are thriving because their average interest rate is 300% a year! The best bet for a payment plan worked out with an auto shop is a short term loan from any of a number of hard-luck credit unions. The APR is 25% (which is why the loan amount, if possible, should be small), but repairing the car is preferable to losing a job for lack of transportation.
Auto repair is very much like our caring for our loved ones: we cant do without, but it can be awfully expensive sometimes.
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