If you're the typical car owner, you may not know much about the mechanics of your vehicle. When it's time for repairs, however, you should know how to locate a reliable shop and a qualified mechanic.
If you have a problem with your car while it's still under warranty, following the manufacturer's requirements by having repairs made at an authorized dealership keeps your warranty in effect.
If your car is no longer under warranty and you're looking for a qualified, independent repair shop:
-Ask friends and family for recommendations.
-Research companies for free at bbb.org.
-Are the shop's technicians ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Certified? ASE certification indicates that some or all of the technicians have met basic standards of knowledge and competence in specific technical areas.
-If major repairs are required, you may want to find a dealer or repair shop specializing in the type of repair needed.
-Be as specific and accurate as possible in describing issues your car is experiencing, but let the shop diagnose the problem. You may wind up spending extra money by requesting specific repairs that may not solve the problem.
-Always get an estimate for parts and labor. Make sure the estimate states that the shop will contact you for approval before performing any additional work. Ensure that you receive notification by having the service manager write a request on the bottom of the repair order. Provide phone numbers where the business can reach you.
-Be clear on the details. Before you hand over the keys, be sure to understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees, and acceptable methods of payment. Also, ask when you can expect to have repairs completed.
-When you pick up your car, ask the service manager to explain all work performed. Also, ask that any new parts which have been installed be pointed out to you, if possible.
-If the shop guarantees its work, get the guarantee in writing. Be sure that your bill itemizes the repairs so if a problem occurs later, you can prove that the item in question is covered by the guarantee.