Consumers pay an average of $533 a year on maintenance and tires for a medium-sized sedan, according to AAA. These costs can quickly escalate if drivers don’t bring cars to the right repair shop. Drivers can help protect their wallets, and vehicles, by doing a little research and being armed with a list of questions for prospective auto repair facilities.
“Drivers biggest concerns are finding a facility that produces quality work and won’t overcharge them,” said Jim Hanni, executive vice president at AAA. “It’s important to ask questions and research facilities to find a shop that won’t take advantage of consumers.”
AAA recommends drivers ask the following questions when selecting an auto repair facility:
* Does the shop look clean and organized? Look for repair shops with professional atmospheres and organized garages and waiting areas.
* Can you watch technicians work on your car? Use waiting room windows to see what’s going on and ask to see modifications. If a shop recommends changing an air filter, ask to see the dirty one that needs replacing.
* Is the repair shop certified? Consumers should look for shops that are recognized by AAA’s Approved Auto Repair Network or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Make sure technicians are ASE certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence.
* What’s the facility’s range of repair? Drivers should look for repair facilities that offer a full range of services from oil changes to transmission work. Consumers who bring their car back for repeat business build trust with a repair shop.
* Will the garage provide an estimate? Before committing to a garage for service, ask for a written estimate. Arrange for the garage to call you before beginning work if repairs will exceed the estimate provided.
* Does the shop offer warranties? Most repair facilities offer warranties to guarantee work on select parts and repairs. Standard warranties guarantee parts and labor up to a certain mileage or number of months after repair.
Consumers can also protect their wallets and cars with an extended auto repair warranty, such as AAA’s Repair Assurance Plan, to help cover the repair costs at any garage when the original manufacturer’s warranty expires.