AAA offers a free public service to help find shops certified for meeting high professional standards. Repair facilities designated as AAA Approved Auto Repair have met stringent standards for personnel training, customer service, equipment and cleanliness.
In addition to checking the shops' reputation prior to certification, their customers are surveyed on an ongoing basis to ensure high customer satisfaction. AAA provides a free listing of Approved Auto Repair facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada at AAA.com/Repair.
Here are some tips to help alleviate the headache of dealing with a repair shop:
- Make an appointment. If the shop knows you are coming, it will be better prepared to accommodate you.
- Don't tell the technician what you think needs to be fixed unless it's obvious. Instead, describe the problem and its symptoms and let the technician determine what needs to be repaired.
- Always get an estimate in writing. Oral estimates can be disputed or forgotten.
- Insist that the shop call if the repair cost will exceed the estimated price.
- Read the work order before you leave the shop. Question blanket statements like "Check and correct transmission noise," or "Repair engine" -; you could wind up with a new transmission or engine. Never sign a blank work order, and never tell the shop personnel to "do what's necessary" or "just fix it," unless the problem will clearly be covered under warranty.
- Take a test drive. If the car isn't running right, don't take it home.
- Ask for any parts that were replaced.
- Be sure to get a copy of the shop's warranty. All AAA Approved Auto Repair shops provide a minimum 12-month/12,000-mile parts and labor warranty.