Don’t get stranded on the way to grandma’s house
November 22, 2013

Holidays are a time of cheer, but they can also be a time for battling traffic and the threat of dangerous winter weather. Driving an unmaintained vehicle could lead to accidents, car troubles and long delays that dig into your holiday festivities. Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin advises consumers to consider having a vehicle checkup prior to traveling this holiday season.

According to the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) 2013 Travel Forecast, 43.4 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Of those traveling, 38.9 million people plan to travel by automobile.

Before hitting the road, it’s a good idea to get your brakes inspected, tires checked and any needed repairs fixed that you may have been putting off. But, make sure you’re going to the right shop first.

So far in 2013, BBB has received nearly 14,000 complaints nationally against Automotive Repair and Service companies. Some complaints alleged the mechanic’s failure to diagnose the vehicle’s issue correctly, causing continued problems after leaving the shop. Others alleged being charged much more than their initial estimate.

BBB has the following advice when looking to get a vehicle check-up before the holiday season:

  • Check out the business first. Always check out the mechanic and auto body shop’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org before doing business with them for details about complaints, any advertising issues and other details about the company. Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle’s make and model. For a list of Accredited Automotive Service and Repair shops, visit checkbbb.org.
  • Scope it out. Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with modern equipment in the service bays and vehicles of equal make and model to your own in the parking lot.

If a repair is needed, BBB has the following advice:

  • Take your time and get multiple estimates. Research the problem with your vehicle to better understand the issue and how it can be fixed. If you have time, get several written estimates.
  • Ask for a follow-up after the problem is found. Many shops will charge a diagnostic fee to research a car issue. However, the company should get your permission prior to doing any repair work on your vehicle.
  • Ask for warranty information. An auto repair shop should have no issue providing the warranty in writing. If they refuse, that’s a red flag.
  • Get it in writing. When you pick up your vehicle, get an explanation of all work completed. Ask that any major new parts that have been installed be pointed out to you. Your repair bill should be itemized so that if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by any guarantees.
  • Protect your investment. When you pick up your vehicle, get an explanation of all work completed. Ask that any major new parts that have been installed be pointed out to you. Your repair bill should be itemized so that if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by any guarantees.