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Choosing a Car Repair Shop

When you are at a place where you need to get some serious repairs done to your car, there are some questions that might come up in your mind if you are not already on good terms with a local repair shop you can trust. How are you going to be able to pick out a good one? How are you ever going to know the good from the bad? It is impossible to predict with absolute certainty the experiences you might have as a customer at a car repair shop before you actually go through with the experience. However, there are some definite patterns that we can pick up, signs and indications that you have found a really good candidate to try.

Customer Ratings of Repair Shops

For folks who like to do research online, there is a wealth of information available on customer ratings of local providers in every industry, including repair shops. You can look up ratings of customers that did business with any shop you might be considering using, and see how they felt about their experience. This is definitely not going to tell the whole story, but it could be very helpful to you as you consider what to do next.  Some people may want a shop that can get repairs done quickly with no fuss, while others might want one that can explain everything from why their brakes need replacing to how clean diesel works.

Visiting a Local Shop

When you have come up with a list of some good shops found online or recommended by friends or even your national auto insurance agent in town, the next step is to visit a shop. This is a great chance to really get some good information on an auto shop. Take a look around, and notice the working environment. Does everything seem neat and organized, or is it all a mess? There is going to be some dirt and grime because of the nature of the business, so that can't be a demerit. But a general sense of neatness and organization really helps.

Repair Association Memberships and Certifications

Good repair shops will have well educated mechanics and will also be a part of top trade associations. In the shop you visit, do you see association memberships with NAPA Autocare, ASP, Parts Plus, or Tech Net? These are all reputable groups and they indicate that a shop is on the up and up. The same applies also to membership in the local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau (BBB). As for the service technicians, are they certified by ASE, Delco, ASP, or the Society of Automotive Engineers? A strong indication of the excellence of a repair shop is the education level of its employee. Some shops use only ASE certified auto technicians, for example. This is a good sign of quality.

Service at the Front Counter

At the front counter, you may be greeted by the manager or assistant manager. He or she is your link to the shop and to the repair work you are going to have done. If everything else looks good (and it really only takes a few moments to know one way or the other), go ahead and talk to the manager. See how friendly and knowledgeable she is. If you are sold at this point, it is time to fill out the paperwork and get the car dropped off.

There are reputable shops in all areas of the country. If you know some of the signs to look for when choosing an auto repair shop, it can be much easier to find them. Get a better idea by taking just a little bit of time to check out a shop and see what it looks like. Find out if you want to use that shop and get it done fast.


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