Whether you need new tires, exhaust system work or just need routine maintenance like an oil change, getting your vehicle back in working order should not be a headache. You’ll want to find a competent, trustworthy repair shop while also not breaking the bank. There are a number of steps you should take to ensure you are choosing the right place.
The search for a good repair shop should begin with getting recommendations – either from a family member or a friend. You can weed out the good shops from the bad ones by asking people you know simply from their positive or negative experiences.
Research Repair Shops
Other research can be done online by searching shops in your area, seeing what kinds of vehicles they service and checking out good and bad reviews from other customers. Don’t forget to use the Better Business Bureau as a research guide to see if a repair shop is listed positively or negatively by other customers.
Visit the Repair Shop
Sometimes going right to the source is the best option. After you’ve narrowed down some choices, going to the actual shop to ask specific questions about your repair may put your mind at ease.
Whether you call or visit the repair shop, don’t be afraid to ask questions about things like repair costs and labor, how long repairs might take, warranties, credentials, and if the shop uses computerized diagnostic equipment.
Check for Qualifications
It goes without saying that you will want to pick a shop that knows how to repair your specific vehicle make and model. But other certifications you can look for include whether they are a member of the following trade associations:
- AAA Approved Auto Repair: With this AAA program, more than 7,000 approved repair shops undergo rigorous inspections and all technicians are Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified. You can find a shop near you using the shop locator.
- Automotive Service Association (ASA): Technicians with this not-for-profit trade association agree to adhere to a code of ethics which include performing high-quality repairs at a fair and just price, only using proven merchandise of high quality distributed by reputable firms, and employing the best skilled technicians. ASA has their own shop locator.
- National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE): This non-profit organization works to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals. To qualify for certification, technicians must pass an exam and have at least two years of experience. They must then be retested every five years to maintain their certificate.
Auto repair shops not only charge for the parts but they also charge by the hour for labor. If you’re looking at multiple shots, you should compare the costs and also make sure the parts used are made by reputable car part manufacturers or are from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
Get Everything in Writing
The last step before picking a repair shop is to get everything in writing. The technician you choose should draw up a contract which should include detailing the work that will be done, the amount of the project, the expected start and completion dates, and the parts that will be used.
At MAPFRE Insurance, we’re always looking for ways to help you save in today’s tough economy. We’ve made the process of finding repair shops easier by partnering with Openbay+, a marketplace for finding and booking car maintenance and repairs at up to 25% savings. This partnership helps customers find vetted repair shops with the convenience of booking online. Some of the popular services you can search for in Openbay+ include:
- Oil changes
- Brake pads
- General diagnosis
- Check engine light
- Wheel alignment
- A/C diagnosis
- Transmission flush
- Brake fluid
Get started today by creating an Openbay+ account and search for repair shops near you! *
*Program available to customers with the MAPFRE Loyalty Rewards Program Endorsement CIC-2237 or CIC-2238 attached to a MAPFRE policy, as indicated on your Declarations Page.