Regardless of why your car needs work, you want it done at a repair facility that's experienced, knowledgeable and trustworthy. After all, a great shop means the difference between a flawless repair and one that leaves you dissatisfied. The tips featured below make it that much easier to find a reputable shop.
Look for a mechanic before you need one
Choose a mechanic before you need the services of one. This gives you plenty of time to carefully research the shop of your choice. When it's crunch-time, desperation can cause you to make poor choices that leave you unsatisfied in the long run.
Check Online Reviews
You'll want to see what others are saying about the mechanic of your choice. Online consumer review websites like Yelp, Angie's List and Yellow Pages are great places to find information and reviews on mechanics.
Given the nature of (largely) anonymous reviews, you'll want to take the information you get with a grain of salt. That doesn't mean that every review should be suspect, but one-line nastygrams and brief reviews that don't offer much info should be overlooked in favour of well-written and concise reviews.
Word-of-Mouth Also Helps
Some of the most important endorsements come from friends, family and even your own mechanic. If a mechanic is known for doing a great job on repairs, chances are you'll hear a mouthful from impressed customers. Likewise, a less-than-reputable shop will garner a mouthful - for all the wrong reasons.
Don't hesitate to ask those you know for their recommendations.
Check with Consumer Organizations
Organizations such as the Better Business Bureau track the reputations of local businesses, giving consumers a snapshot of a business's trustworthiness. It's a good idea to see what the BBB and other groups say about the mechanic you're looking at.
Always Do Your Homework
As you settle on a particular mechanic, you'll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- How long has the shop been in business? The longer, the better.
- What warranties does the shop offer? Most shops offer a warranty. Always ask to see the warranty prior to having any work done.
- Does the shop mandate the use of aftermarket or used parts? Such parts may not match up correctly and they can also void your factory warranty. A good shop will pay for and use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts to prevent warranty issues.
- Are the prices, policies and guarantees posted where they can be clearly seen?
- Is the shop itself clean and well-organized? A well-run shop takes pride in maintaining a professional appearance.
- Are the technicians trained and certified? Look for signs of certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) as well as the Inter-Industry ASE Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR).
If promises or commitments are made, be sure to get them in writing. You'll want to have some form of visible proof just in case.