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Better Business Bureau ®
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San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties

Educational Consumer Tips

Auto Repair Tips

Author: Better Business Bureau
Published:

Do you need to get your car repaired or are you planning a road
trip? The BBB has a few suggestions which may help to protect
you from victimization by an unscrupulous auto repair shop, both
at home and on the road.

Spend some time finding a good repair facility before you need
one. Ask the local BBB for a member list of
companies offering these services. Ask your friends and family
for a recommendation. Check to make sure the company's license with the Bureau of Automotive Repair is current and active. Look for a copy of the license in the repair shop.

If your car begins to make new noises or is not operating
normally, don't hope the problem will go away by itself. Take
your car into the shop to be checked out while it's still
running. If you are suspicious about a diagnosis, you will still
have time to take your car elsewhere. If there is anything you
do not understand on the work order, ask for an explanation. Ask
what the total cost will be and if there is a charge for the
diagnosis. The BBB notes that if the problem appears to be an
engine or transmission problem, you should expect a charge for
the diagnosis. Tell the repair shop that you would like to have
your old parts before they begin work.

BEFORE YOU SIGN THE WORK ORDER: Make sure that it specifies an estimated cost and indicates that you must be informed and authorize any additional work. Be sure to read and UNDERSTAND everything you are required to do to qualify for and maintain any guarantees or warranties on the parts or labor. Make sure that any guarantees are in writing to avoid any misunderstanding.

In accordance with the Automotive Repair Act of 1971, all customers are entitled:
1. A written estimate for repair work.
2. A detailed invoice of work done and parts supplied.
3. Return of replaced parts. If requested at the time a work order is placed.
4. Questions concerning the above should be directed to the manager of the repair facility.

If the work performed does not fix your car's problem, the BBB
suggests that you take the car back to the shop that performed
the original repair. If there are issues in the future with
that same problem it will be easier to identify who is
responsible for the repair. If you are unable to reach a
satisfactory repair through the company, you may wish to contact
the Bureau of Automotive Repair at (760)439-0942 or online at www.autorepair.ca.gov.

The best way to prevent problems when you are away from home
is to make sure that your car is in good working order before
you leave on your trip. Check to be sure that your tires are
sound, you have a good spare tire, and that all fluid levels are
topped off.