by Julie Sperling of Accurate Auto
Having your vehicle in the repair shop is NEVER any fun. It usually happens in between taking 6 kids to 6 different after school events, picking up dry cleaning, and trying desperately to get to the grocery store to pick up dinner. With all the things we have on our plates today having a broken vehicle can be one of the biggest causes of stress-other than money-for 80% of today’s women. Then to top it all off there is the fear that once you pick an auto repair shop from the hundreds in the yellow pages, you will be taken advantage of or treated less than human because you don’t know what an EGR valve is or why it needs to be cleaned. Then there is my personal favorite, “Would you like to call your husband?”
But there is wonderful news! A lot of shops are noticing the buying power of women and are trying hard to change the way they do business with them. My company, Accurate Auto, gives women the drivers seat when it comes to the repair of their vehicle. Others are beginning following suit but until the caveman days have completely passed us by, I want to give you an upper hand when dealing with auto repair shops that don’t make you feel 100% comfortable when you walk through the door.
Here are some things that you should know BEFORE choosing an auto repair shop.
1. Ask friends and family for references of shops they may have used. Shops that do good work WILL get referrals.
2. If you call around for quotes, look for the shop that honestly tells you that they cannot give a quote on the phone. If you are quoted a price on the phone it will probably be a low price just so they can get you in the door, then once you’re there it will be considerably higher than the phone quote. Accurately diagnosing your vehicle’s problem cannot be done on the phone. Be wary of any shop that tells you differently.
3. Find out what the shop offers for a warranty. If it is not 1yr/12k miles—walk away! Good shops offer at least 2yr-24k mile warranties. Great shops offer more!
4. Ask if the shops TECHNICIANS are Automotive Service Excellence certified. ASE only certifies those technicians who have had extensive training and passed excellence test. Just because the shop is ASE certified does not mean the TECHNICIANS are. Many times just 1 technician in the shop is certified and the other 3 that are actually performing the service and repairs are not. If in doubt ask to see the technicians credentials.
5. Find out if the shop is involved in the community or has any other affiliations ie: Triple A, Better Business Bureau, National Automotive Trades Association (NATA), Chamber of Commerce etc. AAA only certifies those shops that pass regular inspections and meet the criteria for AAA. The Better Business Bureau will let you know if there are any complaints about the shop and whether or not they were resolved.
Once these steps have been completed, call two or three of the shops and talk to the service manager or advisor. Get a feel for the company and how they handle their customers. Do they act like they don’t care about your problem or are they paying close attention to what you are saying and asking questions about the problem? Did they quote you a price over the phone? Do you feel comfortable with this person?
Now that you have chosen your well-qualified shop, sit back and relax, leave all the work to them and enjoy getting back on the road in a reliable, dependable vehicle.
by Julie Sperling