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English Publications

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How to Find a Quality Repair Shop?

Hui Zhang


There are many good quality repair shops. To find one, a customer needs to make some efforts. How much effort a customer can make depends upon many factors, such as how much time he wants to spend, where he is, how much money he wants to spend, how old he is and even if the customer is a man or woman and his or her experience and knowledge about auto repairs. The following is a general recommendation. A customer should use them wisely depending upon his own needs and situations.

1. Homework: First and foremost, doing some homework for an auto care facility before you need repairs. Having to find a shop when your car is on the back of a flatbed is not a good time to find a quality shop. The more time you have the more likely you are to make sound decisions. Rushing your choice invites mistakes and may lead you to the nearest or cheapest shop rather than the one best suited to perform repairs on your auto. Here are some things you can do if possible:

Internet research: If you have internet access and spare time to spend, you can surf the internet. There is plenty of information on the internet to assist you. Here are some websites which I find helpful.

www.aaa.com where a customer can find AAA-Approved Auto Repair Shops closed to you.
www.asecert.org where a customer can find certified technicians.
www.familycar.com maintains a database listing good shops people recommend.

2. References: Talk with people you know and ask them to recommend a shop. Ask them whether they are satisfied with the work they had done and whether they feel they got value for their money. Check with agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, your state or local Consumer Affairs Department or Motor Vehicle Department to make sure the shop you select has no significant outstanding complaints against them.

3. Personal experience: Seeing is believing. After doing all the homework, you need to experience it by yourself. When you do it, you should bear the following in mind:

Location: First go and see shops in your neighborhood. Local shops most often want to keep a good relationship with their neighboring customers.
Credentials: If your state requires shops to be licensed, make sure that the license is in effect. Also look for a shop whose technicians are ASE Certified.

Prices: Good shops have reasonable prices as they do not worry about if they will have customers. Keep in mind that this is only a guide and cheap ones do not necessarily the better ones. Sometimes money makes mare go. Remember this old saying; "Quality is not expensive, it's priceless." So don't shop for price alone.

Appearance: A professional look of the shop shows it means business. A quality shop should have the needed diagnosing and repairing equipment. Note other signs of a professional establishment. For example, AAA approved repair status, civic or community awards, Better Business Bureau membership, technical or repair certifications.

Customer Relations: A quality shop should keep a good relationship with their customers. The customer should be treated with respect and listened to. Service managers and writers are friendly, attentive and communicative. Technicians are curious, concerned and committed.

The above are a general guide. To determine if a shop a quality one, you sometimes need to apply to some common sense. For example, better technicians work at better shops, ASE certified technicians keep up with in service technology, many repair cars in the shop show its business is busy and used by many customers. Finally, If you do a lot of traveling, look for a shop that is covered by a national warranty program. Such warranties cover both parts and labor for 12 months or 12,000 miles.
This is a decision everyone must make and there is no absolute formula. Most people rely on a combination of location, price, and comfort/trust in the shop. You must decide to what degree each of these factors in to your decision. Consider the above tips, take your time, and make a good decision.

References:
TrustMyMechanic.com
www.icarumba.com
www.aaa.com
www.asecert.org
www.about.com
www.familycar.com

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About the author: Citrus College Automobile Technology Class Student

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