AUSTIN, Texas — You don’t have to be a car expert when something goes wrong with your vehicle, but it is important to know how to find a reliable shop and mechanic.
Since January, Better Business Bureau has received more than 9,300 complaints nationally against auto repair and service shops. The majority of those complaints allege repair work did not solve the problem, while others allege businesses created further damage and refused to honor guarantees. No matter what you drive − sports car, family sedan, pick-up, or mini-van − when you go in for repairs or service, you want the job done right.
BBB has these tips so you’re prepared when you need car repairs:
- Get familiar with your car and your local auto servicers. Read your owner's manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow the manufacturer's suggested service schedule. Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.
- Check out the business. Always check out the mechanic and auto body shop’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org before doing business. Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model.
- Scope it out. Once you choose a repair shop, start off with minor maintenance work. If you are pleased, trust them with more complicated maintenance and repairs later. Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with modern equipment in the service bays and vehicles of equal make and model to your own in the parking lot.
- Get it in writing. Before authorizing repairs, get a written estimate for parts and labor. Tell the shop to get your permission before making additional repairs. Be sure to understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment. Make sure any guarantees are in writing.
- Protect your investment. When you pick up your vehicle, get an explanation of all work completed. Ask that any major new parts that have been installed be pointed out to you. Your repair bill should be itemized so that if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by any guarantees.
- Know where to turn. If you think your car could be a lemon, check out BBB AUTO LINE, a dispute resolution program that can help you resolve your lemon law complaint without having to get a lawyer. Check out BBB AUTO LINE to see if your car is included and for the next steps in filing a complaint.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org and for the latest, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.