It takes a lot of trusts to drop our beloved vehicle off to an auto repair shop, especially one we know little about. Finding a good auto mechanic who does a great job AND one we feel has integrity can take a while to see in a new city. Just like finding the right doctor or dentist, we want to make sure they know what they’re doing, and we want to feel welcome when we walk through the front door. To help you find that right-fit auto mechanic and shop, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the top 5 questions you want to ask your auto mechanic before starting your new relationship. These aren’t in any particular order because we believe they are ALL important!
Do you charge for diagnostics and if so, how much? This is an important question to ask since times have changed. Our vehicles are much less mechanical and far more technical than ever. We own a computer on wheels. Because of this, it requires a lot of the right kind of diagnostic computers and tools. These, in turn, cost the shop a lot, not to mention that the auto mechanics are auto technicians and need much more in-depth training. You want a shop that understands this and can provide your vehicle with the best technology has to offer. Be prepared that most shops do charge for diagnostics and don’t be afraid to ask just how much.
What training do your auto mechanics/technicians have? How do they stay on top of the ever-changing industry? These are also important questions to ask because you should never assume that a shop has techs who have received any formal training or education. ASE Certified technicians have extensive training, and if they’ve put in extra effort over time, then they might even hold a Master certification. It’s also possible that tech has received his or her training from the dealership. Both of these contain a lot of weight and should raise your trust factor. I mean, come on… don’t you want to know that your medical doctor received proper training! Also, find out if the techs receive annual training to help keep them abreast of all the new technological developments coming out almost every day. You wouldn’t drop your kid off at a dentist who wasn’t learning how better to care for his or her teeth, now would you?
Do you understand why I brought my vehicle to you? Now while this might seem obvious, think about how often you’ve been misunderstood in your life. The last thing you want to do is to get your car back from the shop only to find it’s still experiencing the same problem! Take the time to go into as much detail as possible with the service advisor or the technician if you are dealing with him/her directly. This is also a great test to see if the shop is right for you because if they are in too much of a hurry to take the time to listen to you thoroughly, is that really where you want to do your business?
Ask to see the replaced parts. This is one way to help you understand what it was they were doing to your car and also a way to make sure that the shop did replace the part.
Is all this work necessary right now or can we parcel it out over time? This is an excellent question because especially if you’re on a budget, you might be able to spread the work out instead of having a massive repair bill that might be difficult to pay. They can tell you what is immediate, what are the safety issues, and what can wait until later. If you have to have it all done right away, ask to see if they offer any financing options or if they can point in the direction of one.
The bottom line is always to ask questions. It’s your vehicle, and it’s your money, and not every shop is the same! Take time also to read the reviews. There tends to be a wealth of knowledge in understanding the ones on their site as well as the ones on Yelp. You don’t have to be the victim of a shop-not-in-integrity. At Larry’s Independent Service in Mission Viejo, we pride ourselves on transparency, honesty, and a seriously high level of customer service. You and your safety always come first! Stop by and say hello. Schedule your appointment today or visit us at 25721 Taladro Circle Unit A, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Take the time to ask us any question you might have about the problems you see in your auto. We are here to serve!