(NUI) - Today's busy schedules leave little time for do-it-yourself auto repairs; besides, today's high-tech vehicles are no place for amateurs - so finding a good automotive repair facility is important if you want to protect your automotive investment.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a nonprofit organization that tests and certifies the competence of automotive-repair technicians, offers the following tips on finding a good repair shop:
* Look 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.
* Consult local consumer organizations about the reputation of the shop; inquire about the number, nature and resolution of complaints.
* Do not choose a shop based only on a convenient location.
* Look for a tidy, 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 area should display trade-school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work and ASE certifications - a national standard of technician competence.
* Look for community-service awards, plaques for civic involvement, customer-service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, etc.
* Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff. The manager, service writer or technician should be willing to answer your questions.
* Labor rates, fees for testing and diagnostic work, guarantees, methods of payment, etc., should be posted.
* 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.
For a free brochure with tips on selecting a repair shop, send a self-addressed, business-sized envelope to: ASE Repair Shop Brochure, Dept. NU-898, 13505 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 2, Herndon, VA 20171-3421.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians.
ASE-certified technicians wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification. Their employers often display the blue-and-white ASE sign. More than 420,000 technicians hold ASE credentials.