Finding A Quality Auto Repair Shop
by Tony Molla ASE
New to your town or city? Looking for a good auto repair shop?
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the non-profit organization that tests and certifies the competence of individual automotive repair technicians, knows a thing or two about selecting a vehicle repair facility.
Whether you are new in town or you are just looking for a new shop, the experts at ASE offer some guidelines to help take some of the anxiety out of your search:
- Look for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed.
- Ask friends, co-workers and associates for recommendations.
- Consult local consumer organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and chambers of commerce, about the reputation of the shop. Inquire about the number, nature and resolution of complaints.
- Search online for business reviews and visit the shop’s Facebook page if one is available. You can learn a lot about a business and its team by reading social media.
- Look for a tidy, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays. You likely won’t find hospital-clean conditions, but consider whether the facility’s image and level of professionalism meet your needs.
- Don’t make your selection based solely on location convenience.
- Determine if the shop works on your vehicle make and model or performs the types of repairs you need. Some facilities specialize.
- Look for signs of technician competence. The customer area should display trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced coursework and ASE certifications — a nationally recognized standard of technician competence — for all the employees.
- Does the business have a sense of community? Service awards, plaques for civic involvement, customer service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau and other consumer groups is a good indicator.
- Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff. The manager, service writer, or technician should be willing to answer your questions thoroughly.
- Labor rates, fees for testing and diagnostic work, guarantees, methods of payment, etc. should be posted in the front office/waiting room.
- Ask for the names of a few customers as references. Call them.
- Start with a small or minor job, such as an oil change or tire rotation. Reward good service with repeat business and more complex work.
Look for the Blue Seal
ASE also recognizes some of the best automotive repair shops through its Blue Seal of Excellence program.