By Alex Perdikis
Car mechanics and repair shops don’t have the best reputations. That’s a shame because the actions of a few shouldn’t tarnish the hard work of thousands of reputable mechanics and car repair shops in the U.S.
But, finding a reputable auto repair shop isn’t always easy. The good news is that there are ways to find a good shop and mechanic you can trust. Follow these six tips to find a car repair shop you’ll feel good about.
1. Ask Your Family, Friends and Co-workers
Nothing beats the word of someone you know. You may end up with a list of places not to go, but you’re ahead of the game if that happens. You’ll probably also get one or two recommendations as well.
2. Do Your Research
You can’t count on a business to accurately represent itself. Many have accreditations plastered on their buildings and websites. But, you need to hear from people who’ve actually used a repair shop’s services. Researching businesses is easier now than it’s ever been.
One of the easiest ways to find reviews is by typing “Car repair shop (your location) reviews” into Google search. Scroll through the results.
“Use common sense as you read. Take particular note of reviews that describe how the repair shop resolved any problems that came up.”—Alex Perdikis
Disregard a single overly critical complaint, but look for an overall pattern of either stellar service or bad behavior.
Pay more attention to reviews that offer details about the actual service or repair given and what happened after. No business can please everyone. But, how they handle complaints says a lot about their work.
Don’t forget to search for a repair shop that specializes in your car’s make. Mechanics in these shops are typically specially trained and possess the equipment to better service your brand.
3. Check Them Out
Before taking your car in for repair, make sure the shop is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Ask about warranties or guarantees the company offers for work done and what the procedure is if a repair doesn’t fix the problem.
4. Don’t Forget Convenience
You may have heard great things about the shop in the next town, but it’s 25 miles away. It’s not near your home or work location. Depending on where you live, the faraway shop may be your only option. But, if you can find one closer, it’s a lot more convenient for you.
5. Give The Repair Shop a Trial Run
Before you need a major repair, try the shop out with a small repair or routine maintenance job. You’ll get a feel for how efficiently the shop runs, the quality of service you receive from the staff and mechanics, and whether the shop seems like a good fit.
6. Help Them Out
Once you find a reliable car repair shop, help them out with positive reviews of their work. Recommend them to your friends and neighbors. Finding a car repair shop you can trust is worth all the research and time spent when it comes to peace of mind.
Alex Perdikis, Koons of Silver Spring general manager and owner, lives in Chevy Chase with his wife and daughters.