Do you find yourself unsure what to look for when “shopping” for an automotive service center? No problem, in this article, we will cover the steps we feel are necessary to choose the right automotive service center.
When looking for a primary care doctor, generally you do your research, correct? You should abide by the same rule of thumb when it comes to protecting one of your most valuable assets, your vehicle. As a vehicle owner, I too have struggled to find a good, trustworthy automotive service center that will not only take care of my vehicle, but me as a customer. Having a pre-existing relationship (if possible) with an automotive service center will give you confidence when the time comes to having your vehicle repaired.
If you find yourself short on time and unable to “shop” around? No problem, be sure to utilize your resources by asking your family and friends for referrals of service centers they know around the area. Based off your friends and family experiences, you should have a good idea of a place that’ll work best for you when finding yourself in a bind.
If you find yourself with time, we suggest doing your “shopping” and research before finding yourself in need of vehicle repair. You are less likely to do your research on a repair shop to see if they are a good fit for you and your needs when in dire need of vehicle repair. Start your research by checking your online resources like Google or Bing, social media pages, website, and lastly, take a look at their online reviews. Keep in mind that no one is perfect and having a negative review is completely normal. How they choose to respond and handle the negative review is what you should pay attention to.
After you have done your research on the company and feel comfortable about what they do, stop in and visit the automotive service center. Get to know the service center associates and facility to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Here are a few things to look for upon entering the facility:
- Were you greeted upon entering? Everyone likes to feel acknowledged and have a great experience regardless of where they are and what they are having done. The experience begins right as you enter the door of the facility. You should ALWAYS be greeted upon entering the building.
- Was the facility clean, comfortable, and inviting as well as the associates? One of the first items that either leaves a positive or negative impression is the cleanliness of the facility and the associates. Untidy, unclean facilities tend to enhance the uncomfortableness in an already uncomfortable situation of entering a facility you aren’t familiar with.
- Are the technicians certified and are those training certificates proudly displayed in the lobby? Automotive Service Excellence Certification, also known as ASE, is a nonprofit organization that certifies Technicians through a series of tests. When passing these ASE tests, it offering those technicians tangible proof of their technical expertise with their craft. Studies have proven that ASE certified technicians tend to be more thorough and efficient when repairing your vehicle.
- Do their facility hours coincide with your work/life schedule? It’s important to know the hours of operation of the facility and their willingness to work with you. Some service centers offer courtesy rides and courtesy vehicles for you to check out if you are in need of a vehicle while yours is being repaired.
Now that you’ve entered the building, have a good feel of how the facility and associates are, don’t hesitate to ask questions! Vehicles are considered to be a persons’ most valuable asset, second to owning a home, and you want to ensure you’re taking care of your investment. You’ll gain confidence in your choice of service center by asking questions. As an automotive service center, they should be able to answer any questions thrown their way with ease while remaining attitude free. If the associate at the service center can’t, they should always find someone who can.
Here are a few questions we suggest asking:
- What kind of work do they do? Most automotive service centers specialize in something whether its transmission types, foreign vehicle repair, body work, etc. By asking what their specialty is, you’ll help alleviate the chance they’ll have the inability to perform the repairs needing to be done to your vehicle.
- Is the Service Center a member of an association like; American Automobile Association, Automotive Service Association, Automotive Service Excellence, ACDelco, Better Business Bureau, Angies’ List, etc.? By ensuring the facility is a member of the above associations and have the proper certification, you are assuring you’ll get both high quality parts and repairs.
- What kind of warranty do they offer? Is their work guaranteed? This is EXTREMELY important, especially when it comes to large, expensive repairs. When the service center provides their customers with a warranty on their parts and services, this proves the service center believes in the work they perform and are willing to back it up. The minimum warranty we suggest is 12 month/ 12,000 mile warranty. Most premium automotive service centers, like Matt’s Automotive Service Center, will offer a premium warranty of 3 year/ 36,000 mile.
- Is the service center using state of the art equipment, technology, and high quality parts? This is important to ensure your vehicle will get proper testing and the parts will last.
- Generally speaking, how long will it take the service center to service your vehicle?
- Can they provide customer references and reviews?
When asking questions, here are a few “red flag” responses that should be a concern to you:
- They are the cheapest, have a lot of discounts, coupons and sales and, badmouth their competition. Good rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. Don’t choose a service center based solely on lower prices, poor service, and cheap parts. This could end up costing you more in the long run due to the repairs being performed incorrectly and using low grade parts.
A few things we suggest observing while researching and visiting automotive service center are:
- Have they been around a while?
- Do they have “best of awards” displayed in their lobby?
- Are they invested in their local community and is it proudly displayed?
All of the items listed above will give you a good feeling as to how they are not only as a business, but as a steward and leader in their local community. This should give you a better sense of trust and confidence you’re making the right choice in choosing your next automotive service center.
After you have a good feel for the service center and its associates, have all the questions you wanted answered, and feel comfortable, the last step in seeing if the service center is the right choice for you is by scheduling a trial service to “test the waters”.
Scheduling a trial service, such as an oil service, is suggested to see if the basic service is performed up to your standard and within a time frame you’d like. This will give you a good idea of how their services are performed before moving ahead with larger, more expensive repair.
Only you can choose the automotive service center that works best for you. Location, quality of the services provided, and reputation are all things to contemplate when looking for the right service center. Now you have the resources necessary to make the right choice and feel confident in choosing the right automotive service center, and remember to “shop” away!