14 Tips for Finding Auto Repair Shops That Are Right for You

It’s worth spending time to find the right auto repair shop

For most of us, our cars are one our biggest investments, second only to our homes. So, when you need standard auto repairs, auto body repairs or collision repairs, it’s important to find the auto repair shop that’s right for you. There isn’t just one factor to consider, but these tips can help you choose.

  1. Find an auto repair shop before you need it
    Looking now helps you make your decision without having to rush to judgment because something needs to be fixed.
  2. Ask friends and family
    Social media makes this easy. Put a call out asking for recommendations from friends, family and maybe even your old college buddy. Trying to decide between auto repair shops is a great reason to reach out to the crowd.
  3. Check online reviews
    Look at the car repair shop’s Facebook page and read online business reviews to get some insights.
  4. Cleanliness is also your friend
    Look around any car repair shop you consider. You can often tell a lot about a business by how it presents itself. Keep an eye out for good organization and tidy premises. (Hint: Find a place that looks as tidy as your car!) Looking beyond the reception area, check for up-to-date equipment in the service bays. Look for cars of similar value to yours on the lot.
  5. Look for friendly service
    Courteous, helpful staff who are happy and willing to answer your questions is a sign you may be on the right track to find a professionally run car repair shop.
  6. A little familiarity is a good thing
    Don’t be afraid to ask auto repair shops if they are familiar with your vehicle make, model, and year, even if your car is a little on the mature side. Car repair shops that specialize in specific models, or even repairs, will often have up-to-date equipment and staff well trained to work with it.
  7. Ask about professional certifications
    It’s really reassuring when reception areas display signs of technician competence, such as trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications, which are awarded nationally to knowledgeable technicians.
  8. Start small and reward
    If you think you have found a shop you want to work with, schedule an oil change or tire rotation. If you like the auto repair shop’s work and service, you may have found the shop for you.
  9. Check for pricing
    Review posted testing and diagnostic pricing and guarantees. Reputable auto repair shops also provide bills that list the charges for parts and labor separately, so you can see how your money is being spent.
  10. Call your insurer
    If you are looking for an auto repair shop after an accident, your insurance company may be able to provide a list of Direct Repair Facilities. Auto repair shops earn this designation by providing competitive service and pricing. Based on the relationship between your insurance company and a Direct Repair Facility, you may qualify for a discount on your deductible. But, any list of Direct Repair Facilities provided to you is for comparison purposes only. Your insurance company cannot require you to use specific auto repair shops.
  11. Talk to consumer groups
    If you have questions about a specific auto repair shop, check with consumer organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or your local chamber of commerce. These organizations may be able to provide details about a repair shop’s reputation.
  12. Is the business involved in the community?
    Look for service awards or signs of civic involvement. These are often good indicators of a business invested in its community.
  13. Ask about warranties
    Make sure you are happy with the warranties provided by the shop. These can vary widely.
  14. Consider a broad geographic region
    Many people wonder, "Should I choose an auto repair shop near me?" While choosing a shop nearby may be convenient, other shops may be a better fit for you. If you are interested in a car repair shop that is further from your home or work, courtesy car or ride services may put it within reach.

Choosing the right auto repair shop to fit your needs takes some work. But, knowing your car repairs are in qualified hands will make that work worthwhile. Happy hunting!