When your car needs work, two things come to mind. You want someone who will get the repair done quickly, and most importantly, someone who won’t overcharge you for the work. But how do you know which auto repair shops are honest and which ones want to take you for a ride? Below we share five tips for picking out a trusted automobile repair center.
1) Look for Experience – This may sound obvious, but just because a business has been operating for 50 years doesn’t mean the same mechanic has been doing all the work. Check out local websites, and don’t be afraid to ask how long the head mechanics have been working on vehicles. The more experienced the mechanic, the more likely he’s dealt with the exact same issue in the past.
2) Avoid certain National Chains – Some nationwide garages can offer a quick fix for your vehicle, but similar to the first point, they don’t always have the most experience. Many of the national chains have a higher rate of employee turnover than local shops. This may not seem that important, but you’ll learn why this is crucial in the next point.
3) Price Varies – The goal of any successful business is to operate in the green, and that can be hard to do if the company has a high rate of employee turnover. The more people a company hires, the more time they need to spend on training. Who usually does the training? The head mechanics. If a company can’t service as many vehicles as normal because a few of their workers quit, or because the lead mechanics are taking time out of their day to train the new hires, the company will be operating at a slimmer margin. The shop then needs to look for a way to make up the difference, and sometimes they achieve this by charging a little bit more for parts or labor.
4) Read the Reviews – The majority of people now use the Internet to find a trusted auto dealer, and many leave online reviews. Most car repair websites will have page dedicated to their customer reviews, but it’s important to remember that the company is the one controlling what is said on the site. Instead, check out the company’s Google Review. Based on a 5-point scale, you can see what customers think about the service they received.
5) Dealer vs. Local Shop – There are a few differences between a dealer garage and a regular auto body shop. If you have a complex vehicle-specific problem, like you lost the smart key to your car and you need a new one programmed and cut, you might be better off going to a dealer who focuses on one car brand (i.e. if you own a Jetta, go to a Volkswagen dealer). On the other hand, these brand specific dealers are going to charge you a lot more to do the work, because in theory, you’re dealing with someone who only works on your type of car. If you’re getting routine or even heavy-duty work done on your car, a local garage will be your best bet. They can handle major fixes like alignment, electrical issues, engine repair or windshield repair without charging you an arm and a leg.
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