Repair work is the one part of car ownership almost most vehicle owners can agree is a pain. It can be time-consuming, expensive, and just plain inconvenient. However, that doesn’t mean you should take a passive approach. Researching your car maintenance shop beforehand is a good start, but to ensure only professional car mechanics are working on your vehicle you should have a list of questions prepared once you arrive on site. Whether you’re taking your car in for a routine tune-up or you’ve been involved in a crash, Inter-Tech Collision Center has compiled a list of six questions to ask your prospective mechanic.
1. What Type of Certifications Do Your Shop Have?
In particular, you are looking for ASE and AAA certifications. ASE — short for Auto Service Excellence — certifies that the mechanics or body technicians have received the proper hands-on or on-the-job training and are trusted car maintenance experts. If you don’t see ASE, just walk away. AAA also requires its members to adhere to industry regulations and the association’s code of ethics.
2. Have You Worked On This Model Before?
Just like any other profession, professional car mechanics have specialties. You wouldn’t want someone trained to work on Corolla doing car maintenance on your Porsche and vice versa. Before you have any work done, ask about what types of vehicles the shop specializes in repairing. In most cases the mechanic should be able to help you, but, if not, he or she will normally be more than happy to recommend someone that can.
3. How Much Is This Going To Cost Me?
Sounds like a no-brainer right? Still, this is a question you should be asking more than once and following up to get the details. For instance, does your chosen repair shop charge for the initial vehicle exam? If they don’t, how do they arrive at the fee they’re quoting you? Is it hourly or a flat fee? If you’ve done your homework and searched what similar repairs have cost, you can question your mechanic if they give you a price that seems higher than normal or if they’re truly a trusted car maintenance provider. Speaking of price…
4. Can I Get This In Writing?
No matter how trustworthy your mechanic seems, get the agreed-upon price in writing. Just to be safe, take a picture of that document as well. There’s nothing worse than showing up to pick up your vehicle and being handed a bill substantially higher than what was talked about. At that point, it becomes a game of he said, she said. And, since they have your vehicle, you’re bound to lose unless you want to threaten legal action.
5. How Long Is This Going To Take?
Don’t except rough estimates here. If the repair shop is organized, they should know what their workload is and give you an exact date upfront. Once you get that, ask them what kind of guarantees they have in place to ensure they stick to it.
6. Are The Parts And Service Under Warranty?
Solid repair shops offer solid warranties. It’s that simple. A solid warranty signifies that the mechanics take pride in both their work and the quality of the parts they are putting in or on your vehicle. If the shop has a AAA certification that means all parts and labor should be guaranteed for a minimum of 12 months or 12,000 miles.
For any additional questions you have about finding the right repair shop for your vehicle and what to ask when you get there, contact our team of experts at 402-898-8900.