Keeping records of repairs helps consumers identify bogus charges, says Consumer Reports. CR recommends requesting an invoice with the work order number, replaced parts, and broken-out labor cost.
Dealership service departments have advantages, such as familiarity with the vehicle, a warranty repair history, and access to technical service bulletins issued by automakers. However, dealerships also may charge more.
There are many ways to get recommendations for mechanics, from family and friends to online review sites. When searching for a shop, look for one with a high average rating and a significant number of reviews. However, remember that some people may lash out online about their bad experiences with specific shops.
Also, check out the shop’s website for information about their business and services. A good site should be easy to navigate and include the phone number, location, and email address. You should be able to make an appointment or leave a message asking for an estimate of the cost of repairs.
Ask to see a shop’s technician credentials and be sure they’re ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified. It would help if you also asked about the shop’s warranty policy. Some places may not honor manufacturer warranties, so understand your rights before submitting a claim. Also, ask about the shop’s labor rates and whether they offer free estimates.
Check the Better Business Bureau
With the average car over a decade old, many cars are out of warranty and require maintenance and repairs. Your choice of auto repair Edmonds WA depends on the type of problem, your priorities, and where you can get the best price. Look for shops that offer warranties on parts and labor. They should also provide you with a detailed invoice that lists all replaced parts, their cost, and the odometer reading before and after the work.
Dealership service departments are familiar with your car’s particular make, can help identify common problems and have access to technical service bulletins (TSB) from the automaker. However, they have higher overhead and may charge more than an independent repair shop or a national chain.
Look for Accredited Garages
With soaring new car prices and tough economic times, many drivers keep their cars longer than ever. That means more wear and tear and more repairs for auto repair shops.
You can find an accredited auto repair shop near you. Just type in your zip code, and you’ll get a list of options. You can also search for a specific name to see which garages have the best reputation in your area.
Some shops specialize in specific car makes or systems, so they are familiar with the problems and can repair them more efficiently. These shops often have the most name recognition and can inspire consumer confidence.
Some garages offer a financing plan so you can pay for the work in installments. Be sure to check whether or not this is an option before you agree to have the job done. It’s also important to remember that while some costs are negotiable, such as parts prices, others, such as labor, are not.
Ask for Referrals
The Internet is a valuable resource for finding auto repair services, but the most reliable source of information may be your friends and family. Ask them for recommendations if they have used a particular shop and find out whether their experience was positive or not.
You should also find a mechanic who is a general expert in your type of car rather than a specialist in one area, as they will likely know the common problems for this vehicle and have the right parts on hand or readily available. Mechanics certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence are also a good choice.
Finally, ensure you get a written estimate detailing the work to be done, along with the costs for each part. This will help you protect yourself from any unexpected repairs that may arise and ensure the mechanic has your permission to continue with the work.