Questions You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Repair Tech:
Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It’s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.
As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a technician or a shop. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:
- Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle? Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, or even factory certifications. Vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BMW and certain other makes often require specialized tools and training; that’s why many towns have repair shops that are for specific makes of vehicles.
- What kind of equipment does your shop have? Every model year, vehicles and systems get more sophisticated, requiring specialized and up-to-date equipment for diagnostics and repair. Some equipment is dedicated to specific makes of vehicles. It’s important that your auto repair shop stays current with technology, and this is a question that’s certainly worth asking.
- What kind of certifications does your shop (and your techs) have? Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a trade group that sets standards for auto repair with testing and certifications for techs; the blue ASE seal means that a tech has met the group’s levels of expertise. Many auto repair shops and techs also have factory certifications for certain makes of vehicles.
- What kind of replacement parts are you using? Not all replacement parts are the same! There are plenty of inferior parts on the aftermarket, and are usually a “you get what you pay for” proposition. Your shop should only be using factory or at least factory-quality parts to repair your vehicle. You also have the right to ask to see the part that failed and was replaced, and any good shop should be willing to let you.
And while we’re at it, here are a few others that don’t really need elaboration…
- What’s your warranty policy?
- What would you do if this was your vehicle?
- What are your shop rates for labor?
- Do you provide shuttle service or a loaner car for while mine’s in the shop?
“Forewarned is forearmed,” and it’s important to know what you’re getting into with any auto repair shop. By asking the right questions before any wrenches are turned, you can at least make auto repair into a somewhat less overwhelming experience. At our shop, you know you can expect not only expert auto repair for a wide range of cars, minivans, light trucks and SUVs, but also top-notch customer service. It’s what we’ve built our business on – give us a call and make an appointment for your next auto repair or maintenance job.
-Sarah F., Service Adviser
There are always mixed feelings about prices when it comes to auto repair. You might find yourself asking “Am I really getting the best deal?”, ” Is this estimate really better than theirs?” or “Is the cheapest option the best?”. Over the past month or so, I’ve had several people come in for an estimate. I’ve also had the opportunity to see other shops estimates for “the same” job. Unfortunately, the areas you will “save money” on an estimate will be in the parts or the labor. Cheap parts are the biggest offender. They are marked up to sell the same as if they were high quality parts, sometimes even more. Always ensure the mechanic you choose uses high quality parts. The second area you may notice a price difference is labor. When a shop has “mechanics” working at minimum wage, they are able to charge quite a bit less for labor, unlike the certified technician who is qualified to work on your vehicle, who makes more than $10 an hour.
Our motto here at RC’s is that we charge appropriately, only when it is appropriate to charge. We encourage you to bring in estimates to compare prices, because we know we are the most qualified shop in Gig Harbor. Of course there are estimates we can’t try to compete with, but you get what you pay for in the automotive business, and the the taste of a bad job lasts far longer than the sweet price.
-Sarah F., Service Adviser