If you own a car, the reality is that eventually, you’re going to need to go in for repairs. Often car repairs get expensive, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re taking it to a reputable shop where they’ll do a great job. To ensure you get the best treatment possible, we decided to write a blog on how to find the best repair shop.
6 Things You Can Do to Narrow Your Search
Check Online Reviews & Ask Around
One of the best ways to get a feel for how a business treats its customers is by looking at online reviews. Using review sites like Google and Yelp can give you a quick glance at what customers are saying about a repair shop. While it’s great to focus on the overall ratings of the shop, it’s a good idea to read individual reviews so you can really see what stands out about this shop for better or for worse. It can be a good idea to sort the reviews by the lowest rating and read what unhappy customers had to say. From there, you can make your own judgement as to whether the negative reviews are part of a bigger trend or if the repair shop just had a few honest slip ups with customers.
Compare Prices of Local Repair Shops
The amount repair shops charge is completely dependent on the owner/manager, therefore prices will vary between shops. While it may seem crazy to you why one shop is charging a few dollars more than the next one, it may be because they only hire expert mechanics. While the prices likely won’t vary a ton, it is important to remember that price differences are often there for a reason. So once you’ve found a few potential repair shops you’re considering visiting, give them a call and ask for their hourly labour rate. The labour rate should be somewhere between $50-$100 per hour, if one is more expensive than other local shops, don’t hesitate to ask about it, they may have a valid reason.
Call Them to Get a Feel
Usually a good indicator of how you will be treated in store is how you’re treated over the phone. Therefore, it’s a good idea to call a few repair shops ahead of time to discuss the service/repairs you’re looking for. Take note of how the employee is talking and whether they seem like they’re happy to help you out. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions if anything seems unclear, any good repair shop would be happy to clarify should there be confusion. If the person you’re speaking to seems unfriendly or annoyed by your questions, it’s best to assume this is how you’ll be treated as a customer.
Confirm They’re a Full-Service Shop
Having a full-service repair shop makes life so much easier so it’s important to confirm the shop you’re considering offers that before you become a customer. If you can have a shop that does repairs, oil changes, tire changes and any other maintenance you may need it will make things much easier. If they aren’t a full-service shop we’re not necessarily saying don’t do business with them but perhaps consider finding another shop that does. If you do get the sense that they do great business yet don’t do everything, it may be worth going to multiple shops for service.
See What Other Services They Offer and Compare
At this point, you’ve probably narrowed down your search to a few shops, now you can start comparing the services they offer. The more they offer, the better because you never know when you’ll be needing a particular service or repair and if you can do it all under one roof it will make your life easier and save you time. Call and ask if they offer the following services:
Towing: Find out if the shop offers towing services, many shops work with a third-party towing company. It’s also good to find out the pricing and if the tow comes free with a repair.
Free diagnostics: Most shops charge for diagnostics to find those hidden problems. Many shops however credit this fee towards the repair, find out if this is the case with the repair shop you’re considering.
Warranty: Any legitimate repair shop should offer a 90-day warranty after repairs. The longer the warranty, the better, as any shop that is willing to offer you 90 days or more is confident in their abilities.
Roadside Assistance: While many shops have phased this out of their services thanks to the many roadside assistance companies, this is worth asking. You never know when you may get stuck on the side of the road and having your mechanic shop be able to come and pick you up makes things much less stressful.
Pick Up/Drop Off Service: If your car is going to be in the shop for a while, it can be annoying trying to find ways to get home after dropping it off. A shop that offers a pick up/drop off service gets rid of that problem.
Schedule a Test Service
The last thing to do before deciding on a mechanic shop is to actually go and schedule a service. Were they able to get you in the shop within a reasonable amount of time or was it a 3 week wait? See how they treat you once you’re actually at the shop. A good repair shop will talk you through everything they’re doing and why they’re doing it. You should never feel pressured into getting a service and if you do feel pressured, it’s probably a good indication you’re in the wrong place. Perform this test at each of the shops you’re considering and go with the one that makes you feel the most comfortable.