That's why news that a shop is closing-whether due to the owner's retirement or the economy-can be traumatic.
If you are trying to find a new shop, here are some tips on how to select one you can trust, courtesy of the experts at the Car Care Council:
• Does the business provide a written estimate? The business should complete a written estimate and request your signature prior to starting any repairs on your car.
• Does the business offer a warranty? Most auto repair businesses offer a warranty on parts and labor and the warranty is usually in writing or posted in the waiting area.
• Is the shop and customer waiting area clean and organized? Cleanliness and organization are signs of a well-run business.
• Are customers greeted and treated in a friendly and respectful manner? Many auto repair businesses excel in the area of customer service and satisfaction. A simple phone call to the shop to inquire about their services can give you a glimpse of how they treat customers.
• Does the business have its credentials on display, such as membership in the Better Business Bureau (BBB), certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and membership in various trade associations? Credentials and affiliations are indicators of professionalism and the management's commitment to training and education.
• Does the business have a list of satisfied customers or references that it is willing to give you? Satisfied customers and recommendations from family, friends and neighbors are helpful in finding a good shop. Many auto repair facilities also have company Web sites that are worth checking out, as they often include testimonials and additional information about the business.
According to Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council, "Because a vehicle is the second-biggest investment for most car owners, they want it serviced by someone they trust. It makes sense to take the time to select a new auto repair facility that will take the best care of their investment."
The Council's Web site features a "Find a Shop" locator to help motorists find a repair shop. To learn more or to find a shop using the locator, visit the Web site at www.carcare.org/carcare_location.