Published on August 9, 2016 by Jeffry Gardner
3 signs of top-notch auto repair
Today’s marketplace boasts a myriad of options for competent automotive repair and service. A vast majority of auto repair facilities diverge from the stereotypical knuckle-dragging wrench turner but unfortunately it’s not always easy for the non-professional to tell the difference between an ‘okay’ facility and a professional one. Most customer complaints that I’ve seen about competitors are not a result of dishonest business practices but a lack of training and expertise; but to the customer, there is no difference.
So how does one know whether their chosen or prospective shop is one of quality? Yelp and other review sites can be a cesspool of negativity and false reviews from a never-satisfied and cynical audience or a shining beacon of eloquent recommendations which may or may not come from actual customers. Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends can be valuable but are limited to a narrow range of experiences. Listed herein are several clues to help you determine the quality of a repair facility.
Technicians are probably going to treat your car as well as their own equipment. Look for clean, well-organized service bays.
As discussed earlier, the popular conception of automotive technicians is one of a greasy, brutish and barely intelligible lug. But modern technicians are far from the sort – in fact, the best technicians I’ve ever worked with are not only fastidious, they’re borderline obsessive over their work bays. Look for a shop with well-organized bays: are the floors clear of excessive debris, especially the empty bays? Does the appearance of the shop give the impression that it’s inhabited by professionals who take pride in themselves and their work?
Honest facilities want you to be informed. Look for a facility with a warm, welcoming customer service staff willing to answer questions.
It is not your job to understand the ins and outs of the modern automobile, or the difference between an upper control arm and a suspension strut. It is for this reason that a quality repair place will have friendly professionals front and center to help guide you through the maintenance and/or repair process. Rather than deflect your questions, they engage and even use ‘show and tell’ on your vehicle to help clarify what services are recommended.
Also, do employees at your shop seem to value your patronage or do you feel like you’re merely an inconvenience in their day? A quality auto repair garage will bend over backwards to show their customers that they are vital to the success of the business and that begins with their interactions with you over the phone and at the front counter.
It is not your job to understand the repair facility staff – it is their job to make themselves understood.
Automobile technology – like all modern technology – is rapidly changing. Look for signs of advanced knowledge and continued education.
Anybody who has seen under the hood of their vehicle today and compared it to the vehicles of yesteryear can tell you that automotive components are becoming increasingly computer-dependent. One constant in our industry is the need for continued education and training to keep up with all the latest developments.
Technicians who meet the industry standard for knowledge are generally certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence – commonly known as ASE Certifications. These certifications are something to be proud of, and that should show in the lobby at the business. Ask about these certifications and look at the expiration dates to determine if the technicians in the back have a desire to improve themselves or if they’re just trying to get by.
Other certifications for the shop and technicians that may indicate quality are AAA Approved Repair Facilities, AAA Top Shop Awards, Better Business Bureau ratings, and vehicle manufacturer-specific certifications from companies like Ford or General Motors.
Determining the quality level of your shop isn’t always easy but these tips can go a long way to helping determine whether your current choice of automotive repair facilities is the best for you.
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