Dealing with auto repair problems is a time-consuming process. Also, time can be of the essence when dealing with car issues. You have to get the vehicle to a repair shop as soon as possible while managing your work schedule. It becomes much easier if you already have a go-to repair shop that can fix all your car’s issues.
However, if you don’t, you have to find one. Keep in mind several factors to ensure that your vehicle is handled by trusted and competent mechanics who know what they are doing with it. We have prepared a small list of do’s and don’ts you can keep in mind when looking for a suitable European auto shop.
What You Should Do
- Seek referrals and search online- Check with your friends and acquaintances for repair shops where they have had a positive experience. Of course, finding a repair shop from Google Search or an app is the go-to way for today’s date. But seeking referrals is also a time tested way to find the right auto repair shop. Referrals ascertain that the shop provides a satisfactory experience. It will help you rule out shops that charge more or have a manager that is difficult to deal with.
- Ask for mechanic’s certifications- ASE certification is one reliable aspect that you can depend on. It is awarded by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence and holds good value. To get this certification, mechanics are tested for their skills and knowledge. They also need to have a minimum experience of two years. It gives you something tangible to look for rather than having to depend solely on your judgment. Other than ASE, you can also look for mechanics that are certified by car manufacturers for dealing with specific types of cars.
- Check the company’s reputation- It’s just not the mechanic’s skills but also the company or the shop that you must evaluate. The internet comes in pretty handy in this case. It makes it difficult for unreliable shop owners to get away with lousy service for a long time. Search for different websites that allow the members to post reviews. One such website is Angie’s List. It is exceptionally dependable because companies cannot pay to be on their site, and they have a foolproof system to rule out any fake reviews. Yelp is another such site that posts customer reviews for auto repair shops.
- Check the shop’s affiliations- Shops affiliated with AAA or the American Auto Insurance have added value. AAA screens the shops on their ability to provide quality service and value their customers. The shops also have to sign agreements with AAA that binds them to provide only high-quality service and hire only certified mechanics. AAA also monitors these shops for their performance and customer satisfaction levels.
- Mechanic’s experience- Talk with the mechanics, assess how much hands-on experience and knowledge they have. See whether they are interested in discussing what has happened to your car and what needs to be done. It often appears that mechanics are closed off and are unwilling to give away much information about what they are going to do with the car. This way, they can hoodwink you later and charge more prices for services that were not needed.
- Patience and competence- It is true that mechanics are busy and have to work round the clock. But the patience with which they deal with customers is also a valuable quality. Customers come with limited knowledge about their vehicles and have several questions about what they are exactly paying for. Many repair shops try to avoid explaining things in detail, which leaves the customer in the dark.
What You Should Avoid
- Upsells- What you all must have witnessed at repair shops are the unnecessary services and replacements. Routine maintenance of the vehicle is necessary, and sometimes when you go to fix one thing, it would be logical to replace another. However, repair shops often try to sell off parts and services that are not necessarily needed or neither compatible with the issue. What might come in handy is the owner’s manual, which is probably stuffed somewhere in that glove box. It has the recommended maintenance schedule, which will help you to decide whether you need another replacement or not.
- Aggressive attitude- It’s no secret that people find mechanics and car dealers aggressive. They are trained to persuade you and sell you what you might not have planned to buy. They do this by being pushy and showing you how much you don’t know about your vehicle. All too often, the target is women, who they assume to be easy to bully. If this happens at your repair shop, walk away from it, and never look back.
- Loaded repair bills- As we said earlier, it might be sensible to replace another part when one is faulty. For instance, if there is an issue with brake pads, get your brake rotors checked as well. But often, shops try to hook you into thinking that replacements always come in pairs. Often customers leave off the decision on the mechanic to do whatever they feel is suitable. It gives them a freeway to load the bill with unnecessary parts and labor charges.
- Choosing a shop based on price- Avoid being too stingy and choosing the repair shop that quotes the lowest price. The low price might mean that they are using substandard products and uncertified labor, which will affect the vehicle in the long run.
Repairs Shops Certified by Car Manufacturers
In case you own a luxury car, it would be better to find a repair shop that is certified by the manufacturer. Ordinary repairmen cannot handle cars from companies like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Tesla. Each manufacturer offers a different warranty and has strict standards and specifications to be met. Picking an ordinary repair shop or mechanic to do the job might be a cheap option. But it is certainly not recommended as you can lose out on your insurance or warranty. Certified repair shops charge more, but they offer quality service and are trained in handling luxury cars.