Wintry weather can make driving challenging. CONTRIBUTED

13 ways to choose a reliable auto body repair shop

The winter weather can really create challenges and make driving difficult. Your vehicle’s mechanical abilities and your driving skills are tested by the frigid weather and sometimes misfortunate accidents can happen. Better Business Bureau offers some advice the next time your searching for a trustworthy body shop.

Over the past year, almost 941,000 inquiries and about 2,300 complaints were filed with BBB about auto body repair shops across North America. Locally, this industry was inquired about more than 10,600 times.

When searching for a reliable body repair shop, your BBB offers these tips:

• Ask family and friends for recommendations. If they’re pleased with who they’ve used, you’ll likely be too.

• Read trade magazines or articles online to find reputable auto body repair shops in your area.

• Ask auto body repair shops for references and call them.

• Find a shop specializing in your make or model car. Shops that specialize in certain cars will have the latest training and equipment.

• Check your warranty. If your car is still under warranty, then auto body repairs most likely have to be done at an authorized dealership’s body shop.

• Get several quotes. Don’t settle for the lowest bid. It may not be the highest quality service. Also, don’t settle on an auto body repair shop because of convenience.

• Get everything in writing, including an itemized estimate of repairs.

• Ask if auto body repairs are guaranteed and get it in writing too.

• Tell the auto body repair shop to get your permission to make additional repairs.

• Look for an auto body repair shop that employs auto body repairers certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or are affiliated with other associations, such as the Society of Collison Repair Specialists.

• Look for a neat, well-organized facility with up-to-date equipment.

• Avoid an auto body repair shop that isn’t busy. This could mean customers are avoiding them because of shoddy repairs among other things.

• Ask the auto body repair shop employee to go over the work completed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Remember, you can always get help from BBB, like a list of more than 60 BBB Accredited auto body repair shops and BBB Business Reviews on one’s you’re considering. Contact your BBB by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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