Your car is one of your biggest investments. And beyond that, it’s a tool you rely on each and every day.
That’s why it’s in your benefit to have a “go-to” auto repair shop—a place you trust implicitly to keep your vehicle safe and reliable, to give you honest advise and to charge fair prices.
Finding that trustworthy auto repair shop might feel like searching for the holy grail, but don’t despair. With a little bit of time and research, you can find the shop you’re looking for and forge a lifelong relationship with a mechanic you trust.
Here are our tips for doing just that:
Ask for referrals.
A successful auto repair shop has a community of happy customers. Ask your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who they use– and why. What is it about the shop that keeps them going back? Do they have any reservations about recommending them to you? If so, what are those reservations?
Ask a local auto parts store for a recommendation.
Companies like Carquest or NAPA Auto Parts sell parts to local auto repair shops every day. If you speak with someone in the wholesale division, they’ll know off the top of their head(s) who the bigger and better players are in your market.
Look at online ratings.
Once you have a handful of recommendations from your friends and the local parts store, go online to Google, Angie’s List, Yelp or Facebook to look at the ratings and reviews for each shop. You should quickly be able to get a sense of what consumers do and don’t like about each contender.
Pay the shop a visit.
Have you narrowed down the list to your favorite so far? Drop by the shop to say hello and explain that you’re looking for a new service provider. A friendly and professional service advisor(s), a fairly tidy shop, and an inventory of vehicles similar to your own should meet the eye. Keep in mind that if they’re busy, they may not be able to give you a lot of time. But they should at least be friendly and welcoming and answer a few basic questions for you. (If possible, avoid Mondays, Fridays, early mornings and late afternoons. These tend to be busy times because clients are dropping off and picking up vehicles.)
Kick off the relationship with something minor, like a tire rotation or an oil change. The ‘nuts and bolts’ of the experience are a good introduction to the auto repair shop.
Remember – no question is a bad question. If they recommend services or repairs, ask them to explain what each one is or why each one is important. A good shop will be happy to answer your questions.
Look for fair pricing, not rock bottom pricing.
A shop that charges a fair price, but not the lowest, is your better bet. It’s a clear indication that they’re using quality repair parts, paying for skilled and experienced technicians, investing in essential diagnostic equipment, and staying up to date with advanced training courses.
Consider the extras.
Many auto repair shops today offer longer warranties, courtesy shuttle rides, and even free loaners or low-cost rental cars. If those are important to you, go the extra step to find a shop in your area that offers those amenities.
At Auto Lab, we’re proud to be our clients’ source for expert, reliable vehicle care. We welcome your questions and wish you good luck in finding your “go-to” auto repair shop.