In 1981, a Reader’s Digest survey showed only 1 in 4 Americans trusted the auto repair shop (or shops) that worked on their automobiles. Fast forward to our day, four decades later, and what does their current survey reveal? Surprisingly, 1 in 4 Americans show trust in the car mechanic where they have their vehicles serviced and repaired. What can car owners do to develop more trust where they take their automobiles for repairs?
Rather than giving in to the sweeping generalization that auto repair mechanics are not to be trusted, there are ways to find and qualify competent, trusting auto repair shops in Salt Lake City, Utah-anywhere in the country. Here are 5 ways to determine if the auto repair shop earns your business:
1. Auto repairs are like doctor and dentist visits-necessary but not desirable. View your mechanic/auto repair shop as your car “Doctor”. The similarities between your personal physician and your auto mechanic allow you to follow the same process in determining both “caregivers”…For example:
2. Referrals- You ask your friends or family who they go to for checkups and diagnosis-so you ask those same friends and family who repairs their car or truck. When you have a specific healthcare issue (heart, knee, respiratory, eyesight, etc.) you ask people you know who had similar ailments which doctor helped them. Similarly, ask those you know who fixed their specific car problems you have-heating, air conditioning, brake noise, electrical problem, stalling problem, etc.
Be sure you get the name of the auto repair shop owner or mechanic from your friends or family. Why is getting their name important? Because trust is based upon a relationship. Knowing their personal names indicates that trusting relationship. But trust goes further than that, which leads to the next step in the auto repair shop trust process:
3. Communication by Questions-ask questions, and have the mechanic ask you questions. Any competent doctor knows that accurate diagnosis comes from accurate information-specific symptoms, when symptoms flare up, when symptoms do not appear, how you feel before, during, and after symptoms arise, etc.
Proper questions can lead to proper diagnosis, so see if the same “diagnosis by questions” is followed by your mechanic. Do they ask you the right questions about your vehicle service? Competent technicians will ask you “symptom” questions. HINT: give them accurate information, and give them all the information they need to know, such as :
-Did you just have this same problem looked at recently?
-What was done to try and fix the problem?
-When was the last time the car was serviced/repaired/inspected?
-Do you recall the driving conditions when the problem arose? (car is cold or warmed up, road is bumpy or slick, low speed or high speed, accelerating or slowing down, heater/air conditioner on low, high, etc.
Remember, trusted auto repair shops stay in business because they want to fix your car the first time-just like you want them to. They ask you the right questions to repair it right the first time, not trying to waste time, energy and money-yours or theirs. Which leads to the
4. Going back again for the same problem is an opportunity, not an indictment. How many times have you gone to the doctor for the same physical problem? Car engines are sometimes no different. Complex computer and electrical sensors, wiring, and components under a hood that reaches 260 degree temperatures, traveling in outside temperatures from sub-zero degrees to 100-plus degrees, can make your car diagnosis about as difficult as your physical ailment.
Use this return opportunity to rate your auto mechanic:
-Were they professional?
-How many more questions were asked to try and get to the root of the problem?
-Were mistakes acknowledged with courtesy and credit? Don’t think doctors always get it right the first time-because they misdiagnose your ailments at times. (And doctors charge you each time you visit-right or wrong diagnosis.)
5. Follow up and treatment after the repair. When the repairs are completed, does the technician give you advice or suggestions to prevent further issues with the same problem? Do they call you after the repair for feedback and confirmation? Remember, identifying potential issues with other parts of your car does not brand the shop as untrustworthy. After all, no used car is “perfect” in every way. You notice hesitation, strange noises or sounds once in a while when you drive. Trusted auto repair shops inspect your car to let you know about these things. Most times it is not urgent or dangerous. Letting you know about it shows their competence and diligence.
Since servicing your car is like a trip to the doctor, use these suggestions above to qualify the auto repair shop you visit. Following these suggestions will help eliminate the stress of wondering if you took your car to the right place.
In our next article, we will identify features of a quality auto repair shop-once you are there. We’ll give you a hint-it is sort of like the doctor’s office you visit.
We will inspect and care for your car or truck to help keep you safely on the road. GT Automotive has ASE certified technicians for car repairs for all make and model vehicles. We can inspect your car during our Express Oil change, and help keep your vehicle operating safely in all seasons. Call us today, 801-302-0912, about auto repairs and service in Salt Lake City.