The average car has a lifespan of about eight years, fifteen if you really take care of it. You can also measure lifespan by mileage, with 150,000 miles being the limit for most cars.
However you measure your car’s lifespan, a well-loved and used car will need maintenance every now and then. Unfortunately, car repair shops have gained a bit of a bad reputation over the years.
Some will overcharge for services. Others will find additional problems fix, even if they aren’t an immediate issue.
This leaves us with the question of how to find the best car repair shops. What factors should you consider? We’ll talk about that in the paragraphs below.
It may be far more affordable to work with an uncertified mechanic, but it’s not always a good idea. We all ask friends to help us with things from time to time, and that’s okay, but we shouldn’t trust an unqualified stranger that someone else recommends.
Professionalism is as important in the car business as in any other business. If someone doesn’t have the proper permits and paperwork required to do their job, there’s probably a reason.
Certification serves as proof that the recipient knows how to fix cars, and is able to deal with parts and problems involving multiple different cars from different companies.
Let’s say that your car has been acting up lately. You take it to an uncertified mechanic, who finds the problem without much trouble.
It turns out that the issue with your car revolves around one specific part. It turns out the manufacturers know this part has problems and has issued a recall. When the problem is the manufacturer’s fault, they usually allow you to send back the faulty part and get a new one for free.
Unfortunately, your mechanic doesn’t know that, and it doesn’t occur to them to do the research. Now, you’re stuck paying for a repair that should’ve been free on a car that may still be at risk.
It’s not just about what the National Institute for Automotive Excellence and other licensing bodies might think. Their opinion is important, but they only confirm that the mechanic is qualified.
The local car repair shops may know what they’re doing, but if they overcharge or are rude to customers, people are going to avoid them. This is about you just as much as the car.
Plus, somebody who has no respect for their customers may be willing to take them for granted. We’ve already mentioned that they might overcharge you. They may also repair things that don’t need it just for the extra money.
The best way to make sure you can trust your mechanic or auto shop is to look at reviews. If this mechanic has a bad reputation, the reviews will probably show it. A legitimate reviewer has no reason to lie to you.
Keep in mind that we said ‘legitimate reviewers’. A lot of companies will create false reviews to make themselves look better. The good news is that there are things to look for if you’re concerned about the legitimacy of the views.
Insurance is another major issue to consider when looking for the best car repair shops. Repair shops are supposed to have insurance for their company, just in case they make a mistake and make things worse. It’s similar to malpractice insurance for doctors.
If the shop doesn’t have insurance, then you may have to pay the costs if your car is accidentally damaged. This is another reason to choose a certified, well-reviewed repair shop. They’re less likely to make these mistakes, and there’s a good chance they have insurance.
The issue of insurance goes both ways, though. Certain types of damage, like crashes and weather damage, will depend on your insurance. If a hailstorm has struck your car hail damage repair can be quite expensive.
Most comprehensive car insurance policies cover weather damage, so if you’re driving insured there’s no need to worry. There are only two states in the US where it’s legal to not have insurance: Virginia and New Hampshire. If you live anywhere else and are legally allowed to drive, you probably already have insurance.
4. Get Estimates
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to change the cost between the time the customer drops off their car and the time they pick it up again. Getting estimates can help prevent this.
If you ask the shop to give you a written estimate, they’ll be less likely to try this. You’ll also want to be clear about what you expect from them.
Many prefer their mechanics to call them to consult if the repairs are expected to cost more than estimated. If this is what you want, you should tell them.
It’s important to note that a lot of mechanics are normal people. They have no intention of taking advantage of you. If you tell them your preferences, they’ll keep it in mind.
Car Repair Shops, and How to Find The Best Ones
Choosing car repair shops can be difficult. There are a lot of things to keep in mind.
We talked about some factors to consider in this article, but there are others out there. You may want to do more research on your own to make sure you’ve looked into every potential factor and option.
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