The fastest way to turn a car or truck in good condition into a bucket of bolts is to neglect regular maintenance which over time will result in serious, big ticket issues. Sure that $30 oil change may mean no pizza night this week or that $300 tune up means no Starbucks this month. But if you let those maintenance items slide you will ultimately be looking at much bigger repair bills.
So why do people skip maintenance? For some it’s just a penny wise pound foolish way of life but for many it’s a question of trust. The level of service, prices and policies can vary tremendously between shops in the same market. How do you know you are getting qualified service at a fair price?
It’s better to find a good automotive shop before you need one than when you get in the car and it doesn’t start. To help you with that task the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an organization that tests and certifies shops and technicians offers these tips:
- Friends and coworkers are excellent resources for learning what shops to go to and just as importantly, which to avoid.
- When you pull into the parking lot of your grocery store or mall be on the lookout for drivers getting into or out of cars that are the same make and model as yours. Ask the driver where they get their car serviced and would they recommend a shop. Sometimes these candid referrals are the best.
- If a shop you are considering has a Facebook page, Yelp page or other social media accounts review them to get a feel for their approach and their following. Check the local BBB for outstanding complaints.
- Check their website and see if their technicians are ASE certified. Better yet, does it have the Blue Seal of Excellence from ASE that is awarded to shops with the best overall service performance from technicians, to service managers, to estimators to business practices.
- Start small with an oil change or tire rotation. This gives you an opportunity to interact with the service manager and staff and evaluate their attention to customer service.
- In their waiting room there should be evidence of their proficiency like ASE training certificates, “Manufacturer Authorized Service” plaques and signs of community involvement like the the local Chamber or sponsorship of events.
- The actual garage won’t be hospital clean but it should look organized and the floor should be free of empty packaging, scraps and other debris.
- Labor rates, fees for testing and diagnostic work, warranties, methods of payment, etc. should be posted in the front office/waiting room.
These steps may seem like a lot of trouble but trust us, when you find a mechanic that you trust your approach to car maintenance will take a whole new turn. When you are confident that the technician working on your car has your best interest at heart, you will take better care of your car.
If you found this article helpful visit our blog at Broken Vehicles for more of the same.