Networking with friends is not the surefire solution to choosing the right auto repair shop. It’s a process that requires little guesswork and all research. Minimize the damage to that brand new car by following these tips for choosing the right auto repair shop.
Seek a list of approved AAA shops.
The non-profit American Automobile Association is one of the most reputable motor advocates in the country, serving as referral with its list of more than 7500 approved AAA shops that meet strict guidelines for quality, including fully insured locations and a minimum of a 12 month, 12,000 mile limited warranty on all repairs. Becoming AAA certified also means AAA contacts a shop’s customers to ask a string of customer satisfaction questions.
Don't focus on the shop. Focus on the mechanic.
That $500 scratches is not limited to parts and labor, but on how well mechanics know their trade. Look for your repair shop to hold ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification. This certification goes to mechanics with rigorous training in different types of repairs, such as under carriage and collusion repair and refinish tests, with a 5 re-test period to keep mechanics fresh. If you really want to test your mechanic, ask him/her if she passed the “B Series” test for collision repair and refinishing expertise.
Look at the cars.
Check out the cars parked out on the lot to see if they are the same or almost equal value to yours. Ask the shop if it regularly performs repairs on your make and model.
Yelp.com has thousands of reviews, written by consumers, on auto repair shops throughout the country. If you are looking for collision repair, scour reviews for mentions of collision repair to get a feel for quality. Don’t forget to review the hidden reviews that have been filtered on suspicion of fraud, which may not always turn out to be true.
Don’t go by the price.
You may have three similar quotes for the same refinishing job, but the cheapest one may offer a longer warranty, new parts instead of junkyard parts, and be an AAA certified shop. By shopping too long for deals, you may be sacrificing the longevity of your car.