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One of the local dealerships basically destroyed my car. The guy said it was the heater core and they replaced it. They treated me with the utmost disdain. When I got the car back, it was OK for a while, but they had put the serpentine belt back on wrong and it cost me $600 because it took the transmission down with it. Or least that's what the second shop told me. I ended up buying a whole new car rather than deal with it. What should I have done?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Getting a second opinion and have your vehicle serviced at an ASE Blue Seal Certified repair service center or dealership is your best bet. You can also research the local Better Business Bureau before you take your car in for service at a dealership or repair center to find out if they ahve had complaints or problems in the past. You can locate an ASE Blue Seal service or repair center by going here: http://www.ase.com/bluesealsearch/locator.php Choosing a Repair Shop Checklist Here are some tips from the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) on finding a good repair establishment: Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one. Ask friends and associates for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations. Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location. Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays. Look for a courteous staff, with a service writer willing to answer all of your questions. Look for policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc. Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work. Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards. Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification by ASE. Reward good service with repeat business and customer loyalty.

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