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Educational Consumer Tips

Auto Repair

Author: Better Business Bureau

If you're not 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 the warranty, follow the manufacturer's requirements. If your car is no longer under warranty and you're looking for a qualified independent repair shop, ask friends or family for referrals and also check for the company's BBB Business Review. 

If major repairs are required, you may want to find a dealer or repair shop specializing in the type of repair needed. If you are in doubt about what the problem is, let the shop diagnose the problem. You may cost yourself money by requesting a specific repair that may not in fact solve the problem. Be specific and accurate when describing the problem.

Always get an estimate for parts and labor BEFORE work begins. If the expected cost of a repair or service is more than $25.00, you have the right to receive a written or oral estimate. If the repair exceeds the estimate by $5.00 or 10%, whichever is larger, the company must have your approval before completing the repairs.

When you pick up your vehicle after repairs, ask the service manager what repairs were needed. If the shop guarantees its work, obtain the guarantee in writing. 
Be sure that your bill itemizes the repairs so if a problem occurs later, you can prove that the item is covered by the warranty. To find a BBB accredited repair shop, try our accredited business directory at