How to Find a Trusted Automotive Repair Shop

Finding a trusted automotive repair shop can be challenging. Statistics show that two out of three U.S. drivers hardly trust their auto repair shops due to poor experiences, getting overcharged, and sometimes getting recommendations for services they don’t need.

In fact, a survey by AAA found that a third of the drivers in the United States haven’t found an auto repair shop they can trust. This means many motorists are at a loss when looking for quick fixes for their vehicles. So how can you find a trusted automotive repair shop?

Performs Full Oil Changes

Some repair shops offer quick oil change services for motorists who want to get things done quickly. While this service saves time, your trusted automotive repair shop shouldn’t rush oil changes, especially during routine car maintenance.

If that has been the case, there’s a good chance that the repair shop leverages the daily volume of oil changes it performs. Rushed oil changes can leave you something amiss. A trusted auto repair shop will perform a full oil change which involves:

  • Checking the oil level and its condition
  • Draining the old oil from the engine
  • Pouring in clean oil
  • Lubricating the chassis
  • Inspecting the vehicle

Besides changing the oil, the technician will replace the oil filter to ensure the new oil doesn’t mix with the build-up of the old oil. Failure to replace the oil filter can significantly reduce the oil’s quality, especially when dealing with a Mercedes Benz oil filter. An oil filter replacement increases the oil’s longevity and prevents the engine from going for unnecessary cleanings. A trusted repair shop will also use the correct oil during oil changes.

Some repair shops use conventional motor oil because it’s cheap and effective. However, you may need to go for oil changes frequently because it gets dirty quickly. The best oils for engines are full-synthetic, high-mileage, and synthetic blends.

The latter lasts longer and provides more engine protection than conventional oils. On the other hand, full-synthetic oil offers the highest level of protection to the engine because it’s highly refined.

Find an Insurer-recommended Repair Shop

Auto insurance coverage is mandatory for every motorist. Not only does it cater for any third-party medical expenses, but it also compensates for the motorist’s lost income in the event of injuries that leave them unable to work.

Without insurance, you’ll likely pay for such costs out of pocket. Auto insurance coverage also gives you peace of mind because you’re confident that you’re safe if an underinsured or uninsured driver hits you.

Comprehensive coverage is particularly beneficial to motorists because it enables them to pay for damages inflicted in their car during non-collision accidents. As such, if your car is damaged due to natural disasters, theft, or vandalism, your insurer helps you pay for the repairs.

The insurer can recommend a repair shop of their choice where you can repair the damaged parts. Since insurance providers refer motorists to reputable repair shops, you will likely find a trusted repair shop through them. However, you must verify if the shop provides a lifetime warranty to guarantee the work done on your vehicle.

Offers Tire Rotation Service

A trusted automotive repair shop will offer tire rotation service as part of routine car maintenance. Tire rotation is critical to vehicle maintenance as it ensures the tires have an even tread and last long. Auto repair shops do this by rotating the position of the tires left to right, front to back, diagonally, or otherwise.

Since tires wear out differently, rotating their positions allows them to wear out evenly. For example, front tires wear out rapidly because they carry most of the car’s weight. Rotating ensures they’re preserved and last longer. A good rule of thumb is to rotate them at every oil change, i.e., after every 5000-9000 miles. Signs that your tires need rotating are:

  • Vibrations when driving: The vehicle may develop vibrations whenever it exceeds a speed. You may notice unusual shakes while driving, indicating the need for tire rotation
  • Worn-out tire tread: The front tires may appear worn out more than the rear tires. It’s most likely they need rotating
  • Loss of air pressure: The worn-out tires may also lose pressure rapidly for no credible reason. Sometimes the tire losing pressure might not be worn out hence the need to check all of them

Offers Towing Services

Accidents, when the car breaks down, snow, and other road emergencies can leave you stranded at odd hours. As such, you want to work with a repair shop that offers towing services as part of other car maintenance services.

You’re confident that you can tow your vehicle anytime when stranded, which is a win-win situation. For example, if your trusted auto repair shop is a few blocks away from your house but gets into a car accident 50 miles away, you’re confident they will tow your vehicle regardless of the distance. In addition to accidents, you need 24 hour tow truck services when:

  • When you have a flat tire: Trying to drive with a flat tire is nearly impossible. It only damages your car. A repair shop offering towing services 24/7 can help you find a service near you to tow the vehicle to your preferred auto repairs shop
  • You have battery problems: Your battery could die, or the engine could keep stalling, making driving risky. A tow truck can help drive the vehicle to an auto repair shop
  • Engine overheating: This serious problem needs urgent professional help. Driving with an overheated engine leaves it prone to engine failure. An auto repair shop offering towing services can even send a mobile mechanic to help solve the problem

While at it, find out the type of tow trucks the company uses. Some tow trucks, e.g., the hook and chain tow truck that pulls the car by the bumper, can damage the car further. Such a tow truck is ideal for towing totaled cars. Tow trucks with booms, on the other hand, are more suitable for towing submerged or stuck cars.

Uses OEM Parts

Another indicator an auto repair shop can be trusted is that it uses OEM parts. You don’t want to gamble with your car during repairs. The only way to ensure it lasts long and is restored to its original condition after repairs is to ensure the auto shop uses OEM (original equipment manufacturer parts).

OEM parts are original pieces of equipment made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. They’re new car parts, hence have the same quality as the original parts. As such, they fit perfectly without making adjustments. In addition, OEM parts always have a one-year manufacturer warranty to ensure you have the right parts the first time.

Having a professional install OEM parts helps you avoid invalidating your warranty. If a customer goes to an auto shop for Toyota repairs and their vehicle is equipped with aftermarket parts that damage other components, their warranty is invalidated. What’s more, Toyota offers a warranty for OEM parts installed in an authorized dealership.

Many motorists opt for aftermarket parts because they are cheaper and readily available. Although the parts are new, they may need some adjustment to fit in the car, and their quality could be inconsistent, leaving your car prone to more damage. If the auto repair shop insists on using aftermarket parts, it will help to consider other alternatives.

Referral from a Personal Injury Lawyer

Another proven way of finding a trusted automotive repair shop is to ask for referrals from accident and personal injury lawyers. You must ensure the repairs are handled appropriately when your vehicle gets damaged after an accident.

Visiting the first auto body shop the insurance provider recommends is tempting. Often, insurance providers liaise with the auto body shop directly to streamline the repair process and reduce costs. It could be a win-win situation for both parties, but seeking a second opinion from other professionals like accident and personal injury lawyers won’t hurt.

They can recommend a trusted automotive repair shop if you’re already working with them. They have a vast experience in car accident claims hence likely to offer insight into the reputation and integrity of the local repair shops.

The lawyers can also help you claim compensation from the insurance provider. Property damage and personal injury claims go hand-in-hand. Therefore, you can ask the lawyer to help you understand the damage to your car, and the type of auto body shop you want can affect both claims.

Once you identify a trusted automotive repair shop, it’s important to check if it offers repair warranties. You must ensure the job is done correctly and the shop can be held accountable for any mistakes.

Also check if the shop has certifications from institutions like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Auto repair is a highly specialized craft that has a range of technical skills and needs extensive training.

If the professionals can verify that they have certifications from such organizations, then you’re confident that the technicians are well-equipped to repair your car.

Also, ask about the parts they plan to use when repairing the car. Some auto shops use aftermarket parts, but you can refuse and ask that OEM parts be used. Alternatively, opt for recycled OEM parts.

Offer Auto Detailing Services

Besides routine car maintenance, a trusted automotive repair shop will offer auto detailing services. An auto detail service is more thorough than a regular car wash because it involves cleaning the vehicle extensively.

The premise is to restore the car’s shine and clean the interior. As such, auto repair professionals clean every part of the car, including the engine, seats, and carpets, to ensure the car is refreshed, cleaned, and preserved.

An auto detail is essential for cars using dirt roads as they accumulate dust, debris, and dirt, which can damage the engine. A clean engine runs smoothly, is cooler, and has fewer trips to the mechanic.

If you plan to sell your vehicle in a few years, detailing is necessary to maintain its shine and protect the paint from damage. Well-done paint protection film application and ceramic coating can increase the vehicle’s resale value.

A well-equipped auto repair shop will provide exterior and interior detailing, providing customers with a one-stop shop for their detailing needs. Exterior detailing has to do with the removal of contaminants from the wheel rims using special cleaning products.

The professionals also clean windows and door handles using a non-abrasive cloth, wax some areas, restore bumpers, and other body-related services. Exterior detailing restores the vehicle’s appearance maintaining its sleek, polished look.

Interior detailing, on the other hand, involves cleaning the car’s interior. The professionals will clean the seats with towels, ceiling, mats, and the trunk using a vacuum or steam cleaner. The auto repair shop may provide additional services like bumper repair, engine pressure cleaning, stain removal, headlight restoration, and pet hair cleaning.

Additional Professional Services

A trusted automotive repair shop may offer other professional services to clients. They may have a top-rated technician who repairs car audio systems. Car radio problems are common in OEM and aftermarket equipment and require specialized repairs.

Since this isn’t a common problem, an auto shop will have a trained mechanic to handle such car audio problems. It could be the antenna is broken and needs to be replaced or a more technical issue like damaged speaker wires that need repair. Sometimes one or more wires blow out, causing the fuses to get damaged in succession.

Finding an auto repair shop offering such other services is a client bonus. They don’t have to scout from one repair shop to another looking for top-rated mechanics to fix their car radio.

Final Thoughts

These pointers can help you find a trusted automotive repair shop in your neighborhood. You must not overlook essential factors like the parts used during repairs, if they make full oil changes, and the type of oil used. And if relying on referrals, always get a second opinion. Insurer-recommended auto repair shops could help you save costs, but you must be careful not to compromise on essential factors. Also, if you’re big on finding an auto repair shop offering a range of services, ensure the technicians have the right certifications to offer such services.