Image: openclipart.orgSometimes there are television news segments about consumer rip-offs. And one of the most common ones you’ll see is customers who are cheated with over-inflated charges at dishonest car repair shops.

Unless you are an investigative reporter or someone who really knows their way around cars, just how do you tell if a car repair shop is honest? One way that indicates a trustworthy shop is to look for specific certification signs such as AAA Approved, ASE, Better Business Bureau accreditation, or Bureau of Auto Repair (BAR).
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Generally speaking shops that have these displays show that their businesses have been recognized as top performers in the industry. Look for these certificates on the walls of the customer lobby, outside the main garage, or service writer areas.

Clean or Crappy?

An indication that a car repair shop is good is to visit the car service area where the mechanics do their work. Are the work areas clean and free from clutter or are there car parts, boxes, and oil strewn all over the floors?

A neat area shows that the mechanics and the managers care about what they do. So if the car repair shop looks messy and crappy, you might want to pass on it.

Good Questions

The service writers, the people that help you determine what may be wrong with your car, and help schedule a repair session should be polite, professional, and ask you questions about the problems with your car.

A good service writer may give you a guess on the situation such as “It sounds like it may be a water pump problem,” or something that points to the possible causes. But they will also tell you that they’ll give you a call to OK the repair work and if the charges are acceptable to you.

If the costs seem expensive, speak up and ask them to explain the charges. If they seem upset or insulted, there may be something shady going on.

Watch Out for Flushes

Sometimes car repair shops will try to get some easy money by offering various unneeded services such as radiator coolant flushes, transmission oil flushes, fuel injection flushes, etc.

Unless your car is many decades old, there should be no reason to take any of these services, and if you do see them, pay extra special attention to your bill. Check your car’s manual to see what the recommended service intervals are for these maintenance duties.

Check Online Reviews

Sometimes the Internet is a spotlight that reveals and exposes bad businesses. If a repair shop has a questionable reputation for fairness or good work practices, this will be very evident in the negative reviews for the shop.

Also recommendations from friends are a good source for finding a reliable car repair shop. If you do your research ahead of time, you’ll minimize possible problems and hassles down the road.

Source: CNET

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