Educational Consumer Tips
Better Business Bureau
When your vehicle needs repairs, you don't need a crash course in auto mechanics, but you should know how to find a reliable shop and mechanic. If you have a problem with your vehicle while it is still under warranty, follow the manufacturer's instructions, which may require that repairs be made at an authorized dealership.
If you are looking for a qualified, independent shop, ask friends for recommendations, or request a list of BBB accredited businesses that do the type of auto repair you need. Be sure to check with the BBB about the shop's reliability. Look for shops that display certification. For major work, such as brakes, transmission or engine repair, you need to find a shop employing a specialist.
Ask as many questions as you need. Don't be embarrassed to request lay definitions. Don't rush the technician into making an on-the-spot diagnosis of the problem. Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, course of action, and cost of work before any work begins.
Before authorizing repairs, get a written estimate for parts and labor. Tell the shop to get your permission before making additional repairs. Ensure you receive notification by having the service manager write a request on the bottom of the repair order. Give phone numbers where you can be reached and before you leave, be sure to understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees, and acceptable methods of payment.
When you pick up your vehicle, get an explanation of all work completed and get all guarantees in writing. Ask that any major new parts that have been installed be pointed out to you. Your repair bill should be itemized so if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by the guarantee.