Your auto has served you well for many years, but time is catching up. It is not driving as well, starting to make some noises and all of a sudden an engine warning light has appeared. What do you do? Perhaps, it is time to find a good auto repair shop. So, how do you find a good auto repair shop?
Most people usually begin by driving around their neighborhood or asking their family and friends for a recommendation. But what if your new to the neighborhood? While you might be tempted to pick a random name out of the phone book, you might accidentally hit a terrible auto body shop and end up getting taken advantage of. Many people have had success using online directories like SmartGuy.com, which lists thousands of local professionals many with ratings you can verify.
Regardless, here are a few things that will help you find a good auto repair shop.
Make sure you know before you began, exactly what issues you want to fix. Are you interested in simply getting a tune up? Do you want to fix the paint and some of the dents? Are you looking to just do a maintenance? Or, is there a more series problem you need looked into. Auto repair shops specialize in different areas. While there are those that do a number of things, many times the more specific you are in your needs, the better speciality and quality of job you will get.
Secure a few estimates
Seek a written detailed estimate from each of the auto repair shops you visit. The auto repair shop estimate should include a summary of labor, material costs, the specific brand of materials, and details of the scope of the job. It is not enough for them to say, just drop it off an I will fix it. While in a utopian society of everyone being fait that might work, in today's society the result might be different. By putting everything in writing, it is easier to compare estimates "apple-to-apple" as they say.
Look into references and past jobs
If it is a small job, this probably isn't that big a deal; however, if your are replacing an engine, reducing the entire electrical system or are working on a very expense sports car or classic, you will want to make sure they know what they are doing and have extensive experience with many happy customers. Ask for a list of past clients from each auto repairt shop and call them to see how they did, how long it took them and if they experienced any issues working with them.
Look into reviews
Before hiring the auto repair shop, look and see if they have a BBB rating or SmartGuy rating. You can also enter the auto repair shop’s name followed by the words “rip off” or “scam” and see if anything comes up. While most people who are happy often don't put anything, those that are very upset often do.
Request a detailed contract
Make sure everything that is discussed pertaining to the auto repair job is in writing. The contract needs to include all the auto repair shops information, including: name, address, office and cell numbers, and license number, plus whatever details were in the estimate. It is important that the contract clearly states what is and is not included in the job.
Request a guarantee
Any good auto repair shop should be confident of his work and be happy to provide a guarantee after the job is done at no or little cost. Depending on the repair job done, it should be long enough for you to feel comfortable. For example, if replacing shocks, a short time guarantee is probably fine since you will quickly know if it was done correctly. However, if an electrical system was changed or major engine or transmission work was done, you will want more time in case some issue happens later on.
Finally, make sure to never give more than 10-20% in advance. You don’t want the money your paying him to go to bills from his last job, rather than for your vehicle.
When wanting to find a good auto repair shop, it pays to take the right steps.