National Automotive Service Professionals Week is June 11-17. No matter what kind of car you drive, when you go in for repairs or service, you want the job done right. Most mechanics are reliable, however, it is the unreliable few you need to look out for.
In 2016, consumers across the U.S., Mexico and Canada requested BBB Business Profiles on auto repair and service businesses more than 1.8 million times. Better Business Bureau and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recommend a few tips to help you avoid unreliable mechanics and ensure the best service for your vehicle.
Get familiar with your car
Before heading out to your local auto shop, read your owner’s manual to become familiar with your vehicle. Make sure to follow your manufacturer’s suggested service schedule. Check your warranty. If your car’s still under warranty, repairs most likely must be done at an authorized dealership.
Find a quality repair shop
Start looking for a reliable repair shop before you need one. This way you won’t be forced into a rushed or panicked decision. Ask friends, neighbors and relatives for recommendations on companies they have used. Check the mechanic’s BBB Business Profile at www.bbb.org before doing business. Look for an auto repair shop that employs mechanics certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Association or are affiliated with other associations, such as the Automotive Service Association. The ASE also has over 295,000 ASE-certified Service Professionals across the country listed on www.ase.com.
Check it out in person
Visit the shop in advance. Tour the shop: check for neatness, organization, modern equipment and vehicles of equal value to your own. Professional establishments will be proud of their work, and if a shop owner takes good care of their facility, then your car is more likely to be well taken care of too.
Get a written estimate
Ask the mechanic to get your permission before any additional repairs are made. Ensure you receive notifications by having the manager write a request at the end of your repair order. Leave your information so they can reach you. Understand all policies regarding labor rates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment. When picking up your vehicle, ask for an explanation of all the work completed in writing. Make sure your bill is itemized and and explained by the mechanic.
Remember, it’s important for you to be an informed, savvy consumer. Beware of scams, such as overcharging on repairs or charging you for work that was never done. If you think it’s not broken, don’t fix it until you get another opinion.
You can always get help from your BBB, like a list of BBB Accredited auto repair shops and Business Profiles on ones 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.