How to choose a shop

In the modern era, we have more options than ever before for finding out information. Sometimes, we actually get overwhelmed with it, and get too MUCH info! I’m sure many of us feel that way about our cars.

Questions like: How do I know I can trust my mechanic? How can I know my mechanic is correctly trained? How do I know I am paying a fair price? How can I tell that quality parts are being used?

The internet does a great job of giving us access to all of this information, this post is just a guide to tell you how to find it and what pitfalls to avoid.

  1. How do I know I can trust my mechanic? Just like you look at the reviews for anything else, check their verified reviews. Another excellent mechanism for vetting your potential service provider is Angie’s List. We actively ask our customers to review us on Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Google+ to help new customers understand that they can trust us. Angie’s List in particular is good at verifying reviews. Also, look for trade affiliations. Good shops want to show they’re trustworthy, so they will be members of the BBB and other organizations. We are a NAPA Auto Care Center as well as a RepairPal Certified shop. Both of those memberships require maintaining customer satisfaction levels. You can also search the Courts on the court case information system. A large number of lawsuits indicates severe issues. All businesses get sued occasionally, though, so that is not always as good an indicator as the online reviews, and some businesses will change their names to dodge judgement.
  2. The cream rises to the top. Shops with good online presence, reviews, and trade affiliations will have certified technicians. You can always ask, and look for the certifications to be displayed on the walls of the shop.
  3. Establishing that th pricing is fair is challenging. Generally, shops that are well reviewed will have good pricing. You can call around and ask for estimates, but that is tough, because many good shops will not give over the phone estimates. We will in very narrow circumstances, but often the customer cannot provide all the information we need to write an estimate. Napaautocare.com and repairpal.com have estimator tools to give you a price range that is generally fair. Keep in mind the only way to get an “apples-to-apples” comparison of pricing is to bring in an itemized estimate complete with part numbers.
  4. I know this is getting old, but well reviewed shops…you get the point. Once again, look at the trade affiliations. NAPA Auto Care Centers are independents that use primarily NAPA parts. There are many such affiliations out there. Also, as about the warranty. The high-end, high-quality parts carry good warranties. We offer a 2 year 24,000 mile warranty on most repairs here.

Good luck, and call us if you need us!
Mike

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