How to Find a Trusted Auto Repair Service

When your car breaks down or needs work, it’s important to have a trusted, professional auto repair shop perform the work. The right shop will save you money and headaches.

Your vehicle is an investment that you’ll likely be using for many years to come, so it’s worth taking the time to find the best place for your repairs. You can help avoid costly repairs by choosing a good full-service auto repair shop, and having service work performed regularly by technicians who have the knowledge to identify potential problems before they become major issues.

Make sure that the mechanic you choose is licensed or registered to operate as a repair shop in the state or province where your vehicle was manufactured. You can check for this information with your state Attorney General’s office or consumer protection agency.

Look for certifications, such as the Automotive Service Excellence seal. These certify that some or all of the technicians meet basic standards of knowledge and skills in a specific technical area, such as air conditioning repair or brake repair.

Ask for a written estimate before starting any work. It must include all parts that are to be replaced, the cost of each part, and the labor charges. It also must describe how the repair will be done, such as whether your car will be towed.

Get a receipt for the repairs that are completed. It must show the name of the person who authorized the repairs, the date and time the work was performed, the odometer reading when you brought your vehicle in, and the cost of the repairs.

If you’re not happy with the results of a repair, it’s always best to discuss your concerns with the shop’s manager or owner. If these efforts fail, contact your Attorney General or local consumer protection agency for advice and assistance.

Then, file a complaint with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and follow the agency’s guidelines for resolving disputes. Depending on the nature of your complaint, DMV will send a warning letter to the shop and may schedule an inspection or hearing.

You can also use the “Find a DMV-Registered Shop” online tool to locate a shop that is licensed in your area. Beware of shops that aren’t registered or whose green and white “Registered State of Motor Vehicle Repair Shop” sign isn’t visible from the street.

Talk with your friends, family and co-workers about their experiences with local repair shops. They can be a great source of referrals for quality shops that you can trust.

Your warranty coverage, if any, is also a consideration when choosing an auto repair shop. It’s a good idea to check with your dealer or manufacturer about how repairs under the warranty are covered and what the warranty terms are.

It’s a good idea to ask about any financing or payment plans the shop offers. These may be a way to finance the repairs and lower your overall repair bill.

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