Car Talk: Find the Right Repair Shop for You

By: Lisa McDivitt Email
By: Lisa McDivitt Email

We all know you need to schedule regular check ups with the doctor. But your car is actually no different. Finding the right repair shop can actually extend the life of your vehicle, and save you time and money in the long run.

"Maintenance is the key,” says Gary Looft, an instructor of transportation services at Western Colorado Community College. “Just like in health care, getting the yearly check-ups, keeping things maintained staves off future problems you may have."

Your car is likely one of your biggest expenses, so it's important to keep it in good health. But just as with anything these days, you need to be an educated consumer.

Some things to look for:

Is the technician Automotive Service Excellence (A.S.E.) certified?

Do they have the knowledge to repair or service your vehicle?

Are they part of a national warranty program?

Is the facility clean and are the technicians proud of what they do?

(See the links below for websites that offer a list of these certified shops in your area.)

And, Looft says, ask for recommendations and ask questions.

"Similar to if you're at the doctor, you ask questions about what he's giving you the diagnosis for."

One way to get a handle on some automotive terminology, so you can chat with your technician about your car, is to visit the Mesa County Library resource page on their website. (See below for a link).

If your technician says your car is in for a big repair, get a second opinion. Looft says, “Don’t make snap decisions. Give yourself time to make a good informed decision.” And do some comparative shopping so you can avoid an “up sell.”

When the repair is complete, ask for your old parts back. You’re entitled to these parts, and this way you can inspect them to double-check that the repair was necessary.

Looft adds that building a relationship with the repair shop is key, so that the technician becomes “part of your vehicle, as opposed to just working on your vehicle.”

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