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Choosing the Right Repair Shop

No matter what you drive--sports car, family sedan, pick-up, or mini-van, when you go in for repairs or service, you want the job done right. The following advice should take much of the guesswork out of finding a good repair establishment.

I. Preliminaries

Don't just drop your vehicle off at the nearest establishment and hope for the best. That's not choosing a shop, that's merely gambling.

  • Read your owner's manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow the manufacturer's suggested service schedule.
  • Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.
  • Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. Even in this high-tech era, old-fashioned word-of- mouth reputation is still valuable.
  • Check with your local consumer organization regarding the reputation of the shop in question.
  • If possible, arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a facility solely on the basis of location.

Once you choose a repair shop, start off with a minor job; if you are pleased, trust them with more complicated repairs later

II. At the Shop

  • 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.
  • Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff. The service writer should be willing to answer all of your questions.
  • Feel free to ask for the names of a few customers. Call them.
  • All policies (labor rates, guarantees, methods of payment, etc.) should be posted and/or explained to your satisfaction.
  • Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Some facilities specialize.
  • Ask if the shop usually does your type of repair, especially if you need major work.
  • Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area: civic and community service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, AAA-Approved Auto Repair status, customer service awards.

The backbone of any shop is the competence of the technicians.

  • Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and ASE certifications--a national standard of technician competence.

III. Follow-Up

  • Keep good records; keep all paperwork.
  • Reward good service with repeat business. It is mutually beneficial to you and the shop owner to establish a relationship.
  • If the service was not all you expected, don't rush to another shop. Discuss the problem with the service manager or owner. Give the business a chance to resolve the problem. Reputable shops value customer feedback and will make a sincere effort to keep your business.

A Word about ASE

Perhaps years ago, a shade-tree mechanic whose only credentials were a tool box and busted knuckles was enough. But today's quality-conscious consumers demand more.

The independent, non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) conducts the only industry-wide, national certification program for automotive technicians.

Consumers benefit from ASE's certification program since it takes much of the guesswork out of finding a competent technicians.

ASE certifies the competency of individual technicians through a series of standardized specialty exams (brakes, transmissions, engine repair, ect.)

ASE CERTIFIED

We employ technicians certified by the National institute for AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE EXCELLENCE. Let us show you their credentials

Certified technicians are issued pocket credentials listing their area(s) of expertise and usually wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia, while employers often post the ASE sign on the premises. There are over a quarter million ASE technicians at work in every type of repair facility.

This publication has been reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Distribution of this document does not constitute or imply EPA endorsement of any ASE service.

National Institute for AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE EXCELLENCE 13505 Dulles Technology Dr. Herndon, VA 22071


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The text and documents contained in these reports were compiled from a number of different sources, representing many different viewpoints. For that reason, no claims of content accuracy or other legal issues is made. Also, some of these reports were written several years ago, so the information contained in them may be slightly out of date.

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