Preparation is the key to developing a successful relationship with a good repair facility and technician. This involves identifying if you intend to have a dealership to maintain your vehicle or if you want to have a combination of a dealership and independent repair shop or to have all of your automotive work done by an independent repair shop.
Locating a Good Repair Facility
· Seek word-of-mouth references, read online reviews such as www.yelp.com, www.angieslist.com, Google reviews, etc.
· Contact the Better Business Bureau™ for complaints – www.bbb.com (Note: Discern the validity of all reviews and use your discernment.)
· Call the shop and assess how the person greeted you. Locate a shop that employs ASE technicians.
· Verify if their mechanics are ASE (Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certified, a Master certification is preferable. Ask to see their certifications. http://www.ase.com/Landing-Pages/Car-Owners/Find-a-Repair-Shop/Shop-Locator.aspx
· It is not a legal requirement for a technician to be ASE certified, they can be factory certified or not certified at all (pending the requirement of your state.) Competency is the key.
· If a shop is replacing multiple parts in hopes of replacing the faulty one, the question is, “at whose expense” if a part is replaced but didn’t correct the problem?”
· Determine if the problem is common for your vehicle model and year. Surfing the web is helpful in this regard, just type in the search box your problem with year/make/model. If you’re not computer savvy have someone do it for you such as a family member or your local librarian at the reference desk. Avoid “throwing good money after bad” which means beware of spending money on top of money by approving additional work. Cut your losses early if you feel the shop is incompetent.
Businesses are in business to make money and to do so as quickly as possible. Reputable businesses are built on being paid a reasonable amount in exchange for the services they provide.
If you’re short on cash to repair your vehicle, humble yourself with the service provider, explain your situation and work out something to get the job done within your budget or ask them what they can recommend for you. Use your discernment if it’s good advice.
I’ve been there before and found that some shops will work with you to help you out. Ask to speak to the service manager and negotiate any price adjustment with that person because they have the authority to adjust the price. The main thing is to not worry yourself about your car; you can own it on the cheap and still take care of it.