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.
Donít just drop your vehicle off at the nearest establishment
and hope for the best. That's not choosing a that's merely
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
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
II. At the Shop
Once you choose a repair shop, start off with
a minor job; if You are pleased, trust them with more complicated repairs
Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with, vehicles
in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the
Professionally run establishments will have a courteous,
helpful staff. The service writer should be willing to answer all of your
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.
Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade
school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and ASE certification
- national standard of technician competence.
The backbone of any shop
is the competence of the technicians.
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.
to Communicate for BETTER Automotive Service :
Today's cars, light trucks,
and sport-utility vehicles are high-tech marvels with digital dashboards,
oxygen sensors, electronic computers, unibody construction, and more. They
run better, longer, and more efficiently than models of years past.
But when it comes to repairs,
some things stay the same. Whatever type of repair facility you patronize-dealership,
service station, independent garage, specialty shop, or a national franchise-good
communications between customer and shop is vital.
The following tips should help you along the way:
Do Your homework before taking your vehicle in for
repairs or service.
Today's technician must understand
thousands of pages of technical text. Fortunately, your required reading
is much less.
Read the owner's manual to learn about the vehicle's systems
Follow the recommended service schedules. E Keep a log of
all repairs and service.
When you think about it, you know your car
better than an, else. You drive it every day an know how it feels and sounds
when everything is right. So donít ignore its warning
Use all of your senses to inspect your car frequently
Check for :
Unusual sounds, odors,
drips, leaks, smoke, warning lights, gauge readings.
Changes in acceleration, engine
performance, gas mileage, fluid levels.
Worn tires, belts, hoses.
Problems in handling, braking,
Note when the problem occurs.
Is it constant or periodic?
When the vehicle is cold or after the engine has warmed up?
At all speeds?
Only under acceleration?
When did the problem first start?
Professionally run repair establishments have
always recognized the importance of communications
in automotive repairs.
Once you are at the repair establishment,
communicate your findings.
Be prepared to describe the symptoms. (In larger shops you'll
probably speak with a service writer/service manager rather than with the
Carry a written list of the symptoms that you
can give to the technician or service manager.
Resist the temptation to suggest a specific course of repair.
Just as you would with your physician, tell where it hurts and how long
it's been that way, but let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy
Stay involved... Ask questions.
Ask as many questions as you need. Do not be embarrassed
to request lay definitions.
Don't rush the service writer or technician to make an on-the-spot
diagnosis. Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, course of action,
and costs before work begins.
Before you leave, be sure you understand all shop policies
regarding labor rates, guarantees, and acceptable methods of payment.
Leave a telephone number where you can be called.