Educational Consumer Tips
Automobile Repair and Services
Automobile services can range from a minor oil change to extensive repairs or anywhere in-between. When it comes time for a repair, it is necessary to find an honest auto body shop that you can trust your vehicle and money with. The best way to avoid an auto repair scam is to do your research first.
Tips For Finding an Auto Body Shop:
Shop Before There is Damage. Do not wait to look for a mechanic until the car needs a repair. Before anything is wrong, read the vehicle's manual for the suggested time to complete routine maintenance. To preserve the car’s condition, change the oil regularly and get proper inspections according to the manual. Check the warranty of the car to see if it requires work to be done at a specific location. Planning ahead will allow consumers to find a convenient and reliable mechanic before they are in need of repairs.
Ask Around. When choosing a mechanic, ask friends and family members for mechanics they trust. Check out reliable businesses at bbb.org to make sure a business is accredited and in good standing. Look for experienced mechanics that have a recent Automotive Service Excellence certification. Make sure the shop has proper licenses and is registered with the state.
Have a Professional Diagnose the Problem. When there are major repairs involved, have the auto body shop do a diagnostic. Self-diagnosing could lead to unnecessary costs if a consumer asks for certain repairs to be done. An honest mechanic will advise what repairs are absolutely necessary to fix the problem. Before having the diagnostic done ask the shop if there will be a separate charge.
Get a Written Estimate. Be sure to understand the costs of labor and repairs before any work is started. Ask that the estimate contains what needs to be repaired, the parts that are needed and the specific costs. Make sure the estimate states that no additional work will be done or costs will be added without authorization. If there is any uncertainty about the repair, get a second opinion.
Get All Guarantees in Writing. When picking up the vehicle, make sure the itemized bill lists every repair, the cost of all the parts that were replaced, the labor fees, and the car’s odometer reading before and after the repair. Depending on the state, some laws allow customers to keep all of the replaced parts if they are requested. Save all paperwork and bills in case there is an issue down the road.
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