It feels good to be the person in your friend group that can confidently recommend an honest auto shop and know they’ll have a great experience. A vehicle is more than a chunk of metal, it’s the way you get yourself and your loved ones around on important travels, like work and vacations. Your vehicle needs to be reliable. If you feel you’ve been taking your vehicle to a shop that is uncomfortable, here are some warning signs to pay attention to:
You don’t see any certifications displayed. Look around and see if you notice the blue-and-white ASE logo. This shows a shop is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Even experienced shops need to keep their employees trained on new technologies, and this certification shows they’re on top of it. If you don’t see this logo, ask if they’re certified. If not, you may want to look elsewhere for auto maintenance.
You can’t find reviews or what you do see is bad. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find out about a business’s reputation. Check the shop out online and ask around for suggestions before trying out a location. Consider taking your vehicle for small, routine items to one shop so you get comfortable with them, then when you need major car repairs down the road, you already have a good idea of how they operate and can feel good about their business practices and skills.
The shop is messy, worn down, and/or has poor quality tools. Obviously, an auto body shop shouldn’t look like a sterile and clean hospital room, so some mess is normal. And seeing vehicles being worked on is a good thing. But sloppiness and garbage are not things you should see. Project messes are different than careless messes, so pay attention to the type of organization (or lack thereof) in the workshop.
You’re always feeling like you’re getting upsold. Trust your gut on this one. If a mechanic is constantly suggesting costly repairs that sound inaccurate, you may want to get a second opinion. Honest shops will only perform work that is necessary to the health and safety of your vehicle.
Communication is poor, both with customer and amongst employees. Auto body shops can get loud and heated, but if you notice the employees are constantly bickering, it’s not a good sign. This means they’re probably frustrated and not working with a clear head. Likewise, if employees are tough to talk to as a customer and you feel unheard or blown off, this is also poor practice. Mechanics should explain clearly what’s going on with your vehicle and make sure you understand the best approaches for fixing it. If you’re confused, ask. The right mechanic will answer your questions in a way that you can understand.