7 Questions to Ask Your Auto Repair Shop

Seven things to look for when you’re shopping for a new repair facility to help ensure peace of mind.

One of the more stressful aspects of owning a car is finding a shop you can trust for maintenance and repairs. According to a recent AAA survey, 64 percent of U.S. drivers can identify an auto repair shop they trust. That means the other 36 percent—or 75 million Americans—do not trust the shop where they take their vehicle for service.

AAA urges all drivers to find a reputable facility well before they need one, and for that reason it has in opened AAA-owned Car Care Centers in certain states and has also created the AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program, which identifies facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards. There are over 7,000 AARs in the US and Canada.

In the video above, Donnie Hudson, owner of Troy Auto Care, shares the benefits and peace of mind that can come with using AAR shops. Becoming an AAR garage is no easy task; AAA is very thorough with its selection process, setting high standards requiring nothing short of excellence. Donnie’s shop pursued that standard, earning AAA’s Gold Level award for the Detroit-area shop’s stellar service.

Being an AAR shop means members know they can trust the repair shop and that they are going to get the best service for the best price. To learn more about what to expect at an AAR shop, watch Donnie’s story and review the checklist below.

Note: Before you go to an AAR facility, contact it to ensure it remains open. Also know that waiting areas may be closed due to government guidelines for social distancing.1. Industry Standards

Look for a Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) decal, which indicates the shop follows auto repair industry standards in communication and uniformity in repair recommendations, as encouraged by the not-for-profit Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association.

2. Certified Technicians

Find a shop that employs experienced technicians who receive ongoing training in the latest technology. Technicians who have ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certifications should be on staff, and they should have other credentials if the facility specializes in particular vehicles or components.

3. OEM Quality Parts

Make sure the shop uses quality parts from a quality supplier that meet or exceed OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications on all repairs. As the name implies, OEM quality parts are identical to the ones originally installed in the vehicle.

4. Appearance

A clean, well-organized repair facility reflects attention to detail and an effort to maintain a professional image.

5. Reputation

Referrals from family or friends are often a good indicator of quality, as are positive ratings from online resources such as the Better Business Bureau.

6. Pricing

You should receive a written estimate from the shop before any repairs are made.

7. Warranty

Quality shops offer at least a 24-month/24,000-mile parts and labor warranty on their work. If you frequently travel in your car, make sure the warranty is honored nationwide if the shop is part of a chain or franchise.

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