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Top 12 Questions to Ask When Choosing a New Auto Shop

Brian England, Fri, Jun 28, 2013

Whether it’s medical care, legal assistance, choosing a realtor or any other service provider, knowing the right questions to ask is critical to making a good choice.  It’s true for choosing an auto shop also.  Different shops have different levels of expertise and training, different quality control practices, different ways of communicating with their customers, different warranties…..the list goes on.

Ask Questions of Your New Auto ShopBefore you schedule car service with a new auto shop, drop by the auto shop you are thinking of using. Take a look around, and ask the following questions:

  1. What cars do you service and repair? Sometimes it’s the obvious questions that get overlooked.  You’ll need to make sure that the auto shop you are considering services your vehicle.
  2. Are your technicians ASE certified? Certifications can provide you with the assurance you need to be comfortable with the auto mechanics’ level of expertise.
  3. Are your auto technicians trained to work on my make of car? All cars aren’t created equal. Make sure the shop has technicians that know your specific vehicle.
  4. What is your warranty?  You’ll want to be sure that the work performed on your vehicle is guaranteed in case something goes wrong.  Make sure you understand what the warranty covers.  Warranties are typically provided for a specific period of time or mileage, whichever comes first.
  5. Do you take people to work or to the Marc or bus station? Don’t make the assumption that the auto shop provides free shuttle service.  Some don’t.  It’s best to ask to make sure you’ll be able to get where you need to go while your car is being serviced.
  6. What is the labor rate?  Know the labor rate ahead of time.  It will provide added perspective in evaluating the cost of service.  Additionally, you don’t necessarily want the lowest labor rate.  Having a labor rate that is at or above the average for the area ensures that the shop is able to retain high performing staff.
  7. Do you keep records of the repairs and service performed on my car?  If you are looking to establish a relationship with an auto shop, you’ll want to work with a shop that maintains accurate service records and makes service recommendations based on that information.
  8. Do I need an appointment, and can I wait for the service to be performed?  Find out in advance if you’ll need an appointment, so that you won’t make any unnecessary trips.  Additionally, if you plan to wait for the service to be performed, you’ll need to find out whether the auto shop has an area where customers can wait.
  9. Will you give me a tour of your facility? Auto service providers should be open to allowing you to tour their facility.  Transparency is important, if the management isn’t willing to give you a tour, look for another shop.  When you do get a chance to look around, look for for cleanliness, safe practices and orderliness.
  10. How long have you been in business, and do you have any awards? Awards and community recognition can be another form of assurance of high quality service.
  11. Do you have a list of what you check on the services you perform?  Good auto repair shops should have a list of items that are checked as part of the services performed.
  12. What happens if I have an emergency and you are closed?  We offer an emergency hotline for our customers in case of an emergency.  Find out what off-hour services the shop you are considering provides.

If you are happy with all the answers then make an appointment for a small preventive maintenance service.  It’s a great first step in establishing a working relationship.

 

 

 

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.