Automotive repair services are no different from any other service. You are entitled to get what you pay for, but how do you know you are getting good repair services if you do not know how a car works, and therefore how long a particular repair is likely to last? How can you tell that you are not being ripped off by an unscrupulous mechanic or repair shop if you don’t know what they did to your car to get it working again? Read on and we will tell you how to tell if you are getting good auto repair services.
Look for Professional Certifications
The processes of training and certification of auto mechanics differ from country to country, but almost all countries have systems in place to regulate these processes. In fact, in many countries it is illegal for a mechanic to perform car repairs unless he is properly certified by a governing body, so your first step should be to ask about the qualifications and certifications of the people that are going to work on your car.
Qualifications and certificates of competence always include the name(s) of the training and/or certification authority, so be sure to check with these bodies if you suspect that a certificate may not be authentic.
Expect Great Customer Service
Repair shops depend on their good reputations and level of customer service to keep their existing clients, and to attract new business. If the reception you receive is poor, it is almost certain that you will receive poor repair services as well. If the management refuses to answer your questions or discuss your concerns with you, walk away because you will not receive quality service from such an establishment.
Get The Cost of Repairs Upfront
Price alone should never be the sole determining factor, but then again, the quoted price you receive should not differ by more than 10-, or 15% of that charged by other shops in the area. What is more important is the willingness of the shop staff to give you a breakdown of the costs of a repair. An honest mechanic will always tell you what needs to be done to effect a professional repair, and what each step in the repair process will cost, with both parts and labor charges included, as well as an estimate on the time required to carry out the work.
If you are provided with this information in a friendly, open, and transparent manner, it is certain that you will receive high quality services and customer care as well.
Ask About Parts Quality
Many mechanics use cheap, substandard parts to save costs and increase their profits. This is a world-wide phenomenon, and your best defense against this is to insist on the mechanic telling you where he gets his parts from. No reputable mechanic will have a problem showing you the packaging of parts he uses for other cars, so check for well known and trusted brands.
Unbranded packaging is a sure sign of poor quality parts, and if you see this in a repair shop, you will receive poor, substandard services.
Look for A Neat and Tidy Shop
Repair shops that are neat, tidy, and well organized take pride in their work, which translates into good service and customer care. Return visits by unhappy clients because of recurring problems are bad for any repair shop, but shops that are proud of the quality of the services they provide are unlikely to see many customers return because the original problem was not repaired properly.
The same cannot be said for shops that are dirty, disorganized, or cluttered up by derelict cars and tools, parts, and other rubbish lying on the floor. Such a shop is not capable of providing high quality services, so avoid them at all costs.
Ask About Warranties
Mechanics that are proud of their work and professionalism will have no problem with issuing a warranty on the work they perform. This is especially important in cases where cars are no longer covered by factory warranties or maintenance plans.
In some countries, mechanics are legally obliged to issue warranties on workmanship, but where this is not a legal requirement, insist on a warranty against defects in workmanship- if the mechanic is honest and professional, he will have no problem with it, since his reputation depends on the high level of service he provides.
A final thought…
If you follow the tips outlined here, you can be almost certain that you will receive professional, high quality automotive services; however, you will never receive high quality services if you continually jump from one mechanic to the next, or if you are not clear about your needs and expectations. Mechanics are prohibited from carrying out unauthorized work unless the unauthorized work is required to compete the requested work safely, which means that replacing, or repairing something you did not authorize does not necessarily mean you were ripped off.
Honest and professional mechanics will always inform you if something else needs to be fixed, replaced, or rebuilt to complete a repair safely and reliably, and if this happens, you can be sure you are receiving a professional, high quality service because the mechanic or repair shop has your safety as their first priority- which is always a good thing.