Judging Auto Repair Shops: Ten Tips From the Pros

(NUI) - Motorists are increasingly reluctant to perform their own auto repairs, as family life continues its frenetic pace and today's cars, sport utilities and mini-vans grow ever more complex. Instead, people are turning to well-run repair establishments with professional auto technicians to protect their substantial automotive investment.

To help make the search for good automotive repair a bit easier, here are 10 tips from the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence on what to do and what to look for.

1. Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.

2. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations.

3. Arrange for alternate transportation so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on its location.

4. Repair shops are seldom spotless; instead, look for overall orderliness and modern, well-kept equipment in the service bays. Check out the parking lot, too - it's encouraging to see vehicles equal in value to yours.

5. Look for courteous, professional-looking personnel, including a service writer willing to answer your questions.

6. Ask if the repair facility specializes, if it usually handles your type of repair work, or your make and model.

7. Check out the customer waiting area for customer service awards and signs of civic involvement.

8. Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas and certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white insignia and carry credentials listing their areas of expertise, while employers often display the ASE sign and post technicians' credentials.

9. Make sure you understand policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, etc. Keep a log of your repairs and service; keep all paperwork.

10. Reward good service with repeat business.

For a free brochure on ways to select a repair shop, send a self-addressed, stamped, #10 envelope to: ASE, Repair Shop Brochure/NU-F96, 13505 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 2, Herndon, VA 22071.

Related Articles: