When your car needs repairs, you need to take the time to find a shop you trust. Some states require that auto mechanics be licensed or registered. Talking to friends and neighbors about shops they use is one way to learn whether a particular business has a reputation for honest work and fair prices. If you are unable to resolve a dispute with a shop, you can contact your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency for assistance. They may be able to provide information about alternative dispute resolution programs in your community. You can also file a claim in small claims court.
Mechanics use specialized tools and equipment to diagnose problems, make repairs and service vehicles. They are generally required to keep detailed records of the repairs they make and maintain. They are also expected to stay abreast of new automotive technologies, repair techniques and safety regulations.
You should never drive away from a repair shop without paying for the services you agreed to. The shop must give you an invoice showing the repairs and their cost. The invoice must also clearly explain if any parts used are not original, remanufactured or rebuilt. In addition, if the estimate was based on verbal authorization, the invoice must show the date and name of the person who gave consent for the work to be done.
A well-trained technician will be able to explain complex technical issues in ways that are easy for customers to understand. He or she will also be able to provide clear estimates of repair costs and timelines.
Many car owners believe that their vehicle Auto Repair needs regular “tune-ups.” In fact, very few parts — other than belts, spark plugs, hoses and filters — need to be replaced regularly on modern cars. Compare any maintenance schedules your shop recommends to those in your owner’s manual. If your technician suggests you need more frequent maintenance than the manufacturer recommends, ask why.
Be wary of any repair shop that offers a warranty on the work it does. Warranties are often limited by time, mileage and/or deductibles. Also, some repair shops will not honor warranties that were provided by manufacturers.
A good way to protect yourself is to find a shop that is certified by your state’s automotive service excellence program. The certification shows that the shop has technicians who have met minimum standards of knowledge and competence in specific technical areas. In addition, you should check with your state’s department of motor vehicles to see if there are any complaints against the repair shop you are considering using. If the agency finds a violation, it will send the shop a warning letter or schedule a hearing. In some cases, the agency may be able to force the shop to pay restitution for overcharges or unnecessary or poor quality repairs. However, the restitution cannot exceed your actual financial losses. Other expenses, such as the cost of renting a rental car, cannot be included in your restitution request.