There are over 250 million vehicles on the road today and vehicles are lasting longer. As vehicles get older, motorists are making important decisions to take care of their vehicles and maximize their road dependency. It is important to take certain steps to ensure your vehicle repair experiences are positive.
To take control of your automotive service experience, it is essential that you possess the tools to find the right repair shop, and then communicate with technicians and service advisors once you're inside the shop. The following tips should help:
Start shopping for a repair shop before you need one. Better decisions are made when you are not rushed.
Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. Old-fashioned word-of-mouth is still valuable information.
Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles equal in value to your own in the parking lot and modern equipment in the service bays.
Read your owner's manual and follow the recommended maintenance schedule.
Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas, advanced training certificates, and ASE certification - a measure of professionalism.
Start off with a minor job. If you're pleased, return with more complicated repairs later.
Be prepared to describe the symptoms and supply a written list of recent problems.
Mention any dash lights like the check engine light that have illuminated, sounds, odors, changes in acceleration, engine performance, and problems in handling, braking, steering, and vibrations.
You know your vehicle better than anyone else. Since you drive it every day, you know how it feels and sounds. So don't ignore the warning signals.
Ask as many questions as you need to. Request an explanation in simple terms and definitions.
Don't rush the service writer or technician to make an on-the-spot diagnosis. Ask to be called and informed of the problem, course of action, and costs before the work begins.
Before you leave, be sure you understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees, and methods of payment.
Leave a telephone number or e-mail addresswhere you can be reached.
Better-educated consumers feel confident, informed, and "in control" and are less likely to have a negative experience when taking their vehicles in for service.
Keep good records; keep all service and repair paperwork.
Reward good service with repeat business. It is mutually beneficial to you and the shop owner to establish a relationship.
If the service was not all you expected, don't rush to another shop. Discuss the problem or issue with the service manager or owner. Give the business a chance to resolve the problem. Reputable shops value customer feedback and will make a sincere effort to keep your business.