(NUI) - Although the chill of autumn mornings is often enough to prod motorists into getting their vehicles checked out before winter, many consumers do not know where to turn for automotive service and repair.|
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a nonprofit organization that tests and certifies the competence of individual automotive repair technicians, offers these tips on choosing a repair facility.
* Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed.
* Ask friends and associates for their recommendations.
* Check with your local consumer organization about the reputation of the shop.
* Resist the temptation to choose a shop based solely on location or hours of operation.
* Look for a neat, well-organized facility with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
* Ask if the shop usually handles your vehicle make and model or type of repair. Some facilities specialize.
* Look for signs of technician competence. The customer service area should display trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work and ASE certifications - a national standard of technician competence.
* Look for signs of professionalism such as community awards, plaques for civic involvement, customer service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, etc.
* Professionally run establishments will have courteous, helpful staff. The manager, service writer or technician should be willing to answer your questions.
* Labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, methods of payment should be posted and/or explained to you.
* Feel free to ask for the names of a few customers as references. Call them.
* Start with a minor job. Reward good service with repeat business and more complex work.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence has produced a free consumer brochure, "Choosing the Right Repair Shop for Your Vehicle." For a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped #10 envelope to: ASE, Repair Shop Brochure, Dept. NUF97, 13505 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 2, Herndon, VA 20171.
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