* Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations; consult local consumer groups.
* Arrange for transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based on its location.
* Look for a neat, well- organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
* Look for a courteous staff, with a service consultant willing to answer all of your questions.
* Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.
* Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.
* Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards.
* Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade-school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification by ASE.
* Look for the ASE sign. ASE is dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear the blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign.
* Once on the road, carry emergency gear: flares, boots, gloves, ice scraper, high-energy snacks, a blanket, shovel, flashlight, tire chains, a few tools, and a cell phone.
Visit www.ase.com for car care tips as well as information about how consumers benefit from voluntary technician certification.