Choosing an Auto Mechanic

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,372
    Auto Repair Expert John Neilsen discusses choosing an Auto Mechanic.

    John Nielsen: Hi! I am John Nielsen with AAA and today we are going to talk about Making Sense of Car Care. Specifically in this segment, we are going to talk about who should be working on your vehicle and what you need to know about selecting a quality shop. AAA recommends that you find your shop and stick with that shop long-term, but the task in actually identifying your quality shop the first time is very important.

    The number of things that you want to look for would include the appearance of the shop. The shop that takes pride in its appearance, in the way it presents itself, often says something about their concern for their customers and how they want to be viewed. It doesn't necessarily indicate they are good or bad, but I can tell you that most shops that have quality appearance are focussed on customer relations.

    The next thing that's important is to make sure that the technicians are capable of doing the work. There's a number of ways to do that but the easiest is to look for certifications. There are factory certifications and there are also certifications by ASE, the Automotive Institute for Service Excellence. Look for certifications in those areas of the repairs you are going to need. For example, if you need a brake job, make sure that the technician working on your car has the ASE certifications.

    The next we want to make sure is that the shop has proper tools and equipment and often this is difficult to do. Because it requires that you go in, that you visit the shop, you take a look around, and you ask specifically, do you have the tools to do this job? What do you use to do this job? A shop that doesn't have the proper tools and equipment really is an indication that they can do some services but maybe not all. Again, AAA recommends that you establish your relationship with a shop long-term. So a shop that can't provide all the services may not be the best shop day-in and day-out.

    Another area to be concerned about is the financial condition of the shop. Well that's often very difficult to find on a daily basis. The length of time that the shop has been in business is really important. What that shows is that they are going to be around long-term. Most repairs come with a warranty, and if a shop goes out of business, it's next to impossible to get that warranty honored. So, length of time in business is really important.

    The next area would be business reputation. This is really important because this is how other people feel about the business. It tells you how they have been treated. It's great to get referrals from your friends, from your neighbors, and listen to the good and bad. What do they do well? Why do you like them? Use that to make a decision.

    Finally, customer service, and that's how they are going to treat you, and there is a great way to find how this shop has to do business with and that's to start with the most simple services, like an oil change, or a tyre rotation. Take your vehicle in and allow them to service it, and if you have a good experience, take it back for the next maintenance and the next maintenance, so that when it comes time for a repair, you've established a relationship with the shop and you are able to go to them and very comfortably tell them what's failed on your vehicle and know in your heart that you are going to get good service.

    Remember, people do business with people and that relationship that's established through proper maintenance will lead to quality repairs long-term. Now we have talked about a number of things that we're going to do in finding a quality shop. One thing that you can do is simply look for a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility sign, which indicates that all of these things and more have been met.

    AAA inspects and improves more than 8,000 repair facilities across the country as a public service at no charge for both members and nonmembers. The shops meet all the criteria we have talked about, plus they have agreements that they will take care of members in a certain way and AAA members actually have an arbitration guarantee, so that if something goes wrong, we can step in and make it right.

    One way to find AAA approved auto repair shops is to visit us at aaa.

    com and look under Automotive Repair. We have a list and locator for these locations or you can simply look for the AAA, Approved Auto Repair sign.

    Now in this segment, we have talked about who should be working on your vehicle and what goes in defining a quality shop. In the next segment, we are going to talk specifically about what you can do yourself, and those services that are best left to a professional to handle for you.