How Find a Good Auto Repair Service
Good Deals on Car Repairs
The typical new car is a computer on wheels. As much as 15 computers control such functions as the speed of the windshield wipers, sparkplug timing, and the antiskid function of the brakes. Actually, automotive technicians will tell you that the owners of recent-model car have more computing power at their fingertips than the early astronauts had to pilot their spacecraft.
Today's auto repair technicians have had wide electronics training, and they use this information and training to diagnose trouble in the engine, ignition, electrical and fuel-injection systems, power train, transmission, differential, lubricating system, wheel suspension, the front axle, steering mechanism and braking system.
There are numerous types of auto repair shops and each type offers a little different kind of auto repair service:
Car dealer service departments stock most parts for the automobiles they sell. Additionally, dealer service departments are generally well supported by the automobile manufacturers themselves, who furnish frequent written updates about technical problems and send representatives to train and work with technicians in the dealership service departments. The manufacturers also work with those service departments to cover warranties. So, when your car is still under warranty, your first stop for regularly scheduled maintenance and repairs should be a dealership, though not necessarily the one from which you bought the car.
The key to finding a good auto mechanic is to look before you need one.
Often car dealerships have a supposed secret warranty arrangement with the manufacturer. Under these secret warranties, the manufacturer will pay the dealership to fix problems found in specific makes and models after purchase, even if the car is otherwise out of warranty. The problem is, dealership service departments rarely tell customers about these warranties. If something goes wrong with your vehicle, ask the dealership if there is a policy adjustment available for your particular type of vehicle.
Service stations and general auto repair shops are generally owned or managed by independent technicians and mechanics. These car technicians may or may not have access to all the equipment found in a dealership service department. All the same, many of these mechanics are great generalists, and they often charge much less than will a dealership service department for out-of-warranty repairs.
Specialty auto repair shops are just that—shops that perform only one type of repair, like brake service, change of oil or other lubrication, or a limited range of repairs. You can get quick and competitively priced service in these shops, but the emphasis is often on replacement instead of repair.
Mall automobile service departments are almost always associated with a mass merchandizing outlet, like Sears. Replacement parts in these shops are many times discounted and the technicians are typically well trained. However, the emphasis is on services that can be done rapidly.
You can make a list of automotive repair technicians by asking friends and colleagues regarding the garages they use. Members of local car clubs and people who collect cars are some other source of names.
A phone call to the Better Business Bureau can reassure you that no complaints have stayed unresolved against any of the garages on your list. Ask specifically about what type of complaints were filed and how those complaints were managed.