Here is the answer to this question, although it was asked previously. (My responses are in parenthesis as I am sure that this was copied from another site, as there is a lot of missing common sense)
Here are some tips to consider before you start, when you're at the car repair shop, and after the car repair.
Read your owner's manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow the manufacturer's suggested service schedule. (Don't always trust the owner's manual or manufacturer, people that work on the cars for a living can sometimes advise you more accurately regarding your car-if you have an experienced place)
Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.
Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. Even in this high-tech era, old-fashioned word-of-mouth reputation is still valuable. (but consider the source)
Check with your local consumer organization regarding the reputation of the shop in question. (This is is not always reliable)
If possible, arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a facility solely on the basis of location.
Once you choose a repair shop, start off with a minor job; if you are pleased, trust them with more complicated repairs later. (This is a lot like saying, if you cut my grass nice, you can put an addition on my house-does this make sense?)
Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own (hopfully those kind of cars will be there that day) and modern equipment (do you have any Idea what modern equipment is?) in the service bays.
Professionally run establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff (especially the ones that are trained to build a relationship to get your trust aka money). The service writer should be willing to answer all of your questions.
Feel free to ask for the names of a few customers. Call them. (do you think they will give the people they have a problem with or the ones they don't?)
All policies (labor rates, guarantees, methods of payment, etc.) should be posted and/or explained to your satisfaction.
Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Some facilities specialize. (Any truley good mechanic can handle most any vehicle if they are willing to)
Ask if the shop usually does your type of repair, especially if you need major work. (do you know what major work means?)
Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area: civic and community service awards, membership in the Better Business Bureau, AAA-Approved Auto Repair status, customer service awards. (Does this make them a better mechanic or a better marketer?)
Look for evidence of qualified technicians, such as trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and ASE certifications - a national standard of technician competence. ( I have hired technicians with arm's length of diploma and certicfications that don't know jack, don't care about your car and don't car about me or you, conversly there are techs that are very impressive that have none of the above. Don't judge a book my it's cover.)
The backbone of any shop is the competence of the technicians. (True, this is a key ingredient, but the culture extended from the ownership to do the job right and do it honestly is the real backbone)
Keep good records; keep all paperwork. (If the shop is up to speed and honest, they will have everything you do on file and can remember a warrantied part much better than you, especially if you are loyal to them)
Reward good service with repeat business. It is mutually beneficial to you and the shop owner to establish a relationship. (but on occasion get a 2nd opinion to keep them on their toes and tell them that is why you did it)
If the service was not all you expected, don't rush to another shop. Discuss the problem with the service manager or owner. Give the business a chance to resolve the problem. Reputable shops value customer feedback and will make a sincere effort to keep your business. (communication is a key if they are in the wrong they will take care of it, if they aren't they may still, but be sure you understand how a problem came about)
(I added my comments as a person in the auto repair industry. I understand a lot of aspects about it and think it is important to help open up eyes to helping you understand more. Like any industry there are those that want to take advantage of you, and then there are those that want to do their job to the best of their ability and get compensated for it. Many confuse honesty with low price. It is expensive and time consuming to really know your stuff and operate a repair facility. You can have two of three things, but not all three: 1)honesty, 2) cheap, 3) Quality
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