Questions You Should Ask Your Auto Repair Provider
For most people, getting to an unknown auto repair provider is not only a nuisance, but it’s distasteful and very unwelcome as well. With less-than-legitimate shops, you never really know if specific auto repairs are truly necessary, or whether the repair person is simply trying to increase their profits at your expense and their repairs are practically always inconvenient and expensive. These auto repair providers might get all the rest a bad reputation by association, but in fairness these are relatively few.
The problem is, you never know whether or not you have just aligned yourself with one of those few unscrupulous characters. To help get fair value for your money, you should be prepared to ask a number of important questions of any repair service professional. If they’re on the up and up, they shouldn’t mind responding to your questions and helping you have peace of mind.
Below are some of the most important questions you can ask your auto repair provider, and you’ll be doing yourself a real favor if you actually ask these to your repair person, so you can find out a little more about the service you’re going to receive.
What Exactly Is The Problem With My Vehicle?
Even if you don’t know much about cars, you should ask this question, because your mechanic should be perfectly willing to show you what the problem is, and the impact it’s having on operation. If they are unwilling to show you where the problem is, they just might be trying to fleece you.
While it might be somewhat difficult to demonstrate, a simple matter of taking five minutes to show the customer what the problem is can go a long way toward inspiring your confidence in the auto repair provider in question. In addition, you might actually gain a better understanding of how your car operates.
How Much Will An Evaluation Cost Me?
Some auto repair shops do provide no-charge evaluations, while others have a set fee. Whichever of these two situations is in effect at your auto repair provider, the mechanic should have no problem relating what their policy is.
Don’t be deterred just because your mechanic tells you there is a charge for the evaluation, because it probably is fair that a skilled mechanic be paid for their time, and running diagnostics is a skill that requires specialized training and knowledge.
Can You Give Me A Written Estimate?
It’s always a good idea to get an estimate for any repair work you need done, so that things don’t spin out of control and you end up with a whole laundry list of repairs. It’s best to ask for a detailed estimate right at the outset, and not just a bottom-line cost, because you should know what you’re paying for.
When you see an itemized list that shows all parts that were used in repairing your vehicle, as well as a line item for the specific amount of labor involved, you can have a little more confidence that things were done honestly. Have an understanding with your mechanic that they will need to call you if there are any unanticipated problems or expenses, so you’ll have the option of approving or not.
What Kinds Of Accreditation Do Your Mechanics Have?
The thing to look for in accreditations is an ASE certification, which is a certification issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. This is a nonprofit organization that certifies and tests auto mechanics, for the purpose of ensuring that they have the skill and competence to repair your vehicle.
Other accreditations may be appropriate as well, but you should question them if they start to sound a little bogus. When you hear that mechanics do have the ASE certification, you can have a little more peace of mind knowing that they are qualified, skilled auto mechanics.
Which Are The Most Urgent Repairs?
If your auto repair provider gives you a whole catalog of repairs which your car needs, it could be legitimate, but then again it might not be. By asking which problems are the most urgent and what are the ones you must take care of right away, you can cut right to the chase and do the work on those issues that require immediate attention.
Have your auto repair person explain to you which repairs are the ones most necessary, and which ones can wait several weeks if necessary. A good auto mechanic will have no problem working with you to schedule other repairs at some future date, while handling the most urgent situations right at the present time. This is also a good way to establish some trust and rapport with your mechanic, since you should both have the same objective at heart.
What Caused The Problem?
This can be a really important question to ask, because if it turns out that the problem was caused by some bad driving habits you have, you’ll want to know this so you can correct the situation. On the other hand, maybe this was a problem that’s just common to the make and model of your vehicle.
Most often, you will find that the cause of a problem was some kind of overlooked preventive maintenance to avoid the problem altogether. These are things you need to know, so that you can prevent a recurrence in the future. When you have this information in hand, it might save you a lot of money on future repairs.
Does Your Shop Specialize In Any Kind Of Repairs?
Some repair shops are like general practitioners in the medical field – they pretty much handle everything. On the other hand, there are a number of repair shops which specialize in transmission work or brake jobs. This would be useful to know if for instance, you’re having a problem with your brakes.
It might be worth your while to take the vehicle to a shop that specializes in brake repairs. At any rate, make sure that your repair shop is capable of handling the type of problem your vehicle has, so you have a better chance of getting great work that resolves the issue.