The internet is not the only place to find information about a repair shop. You can also ask the mechanic specific questions before handing your vehicle over to them.
Most repair shops work for an hourly rate and charge for parts. For example, a mechanic with an hourly rate who replaces a radiator will give you an itemized bill that lists the cost of the part and their fee for installing it. Questions to ask when researching repair shops in your area:
- Do you have an ASE certification and/or AAA approval?
- How long have you been in business?
- How do you bill?
- Do you have experience working on my make and model vehicle?
- Do you loan out vehicles while repairs are performed?
- Can I choose the parts used for all repairs?
- Will you contact me before making additional repairs that add to the bill?
- How often do your estimates match the final bill?
- Do you have testimonials from previous clients?
- Who is your biggest competitor?
- Are there services you do not perform, and if so, do you have a recommendation on where to go for those?
If your vehicle needs a part, the shop may pick the best and charge you a premium dollar for it. While many shops will review the options based on your budget, they rarely accept parts from outside the shop.
Some locations or services have a flat rate. Oil changes, for instance, are typically a flat cost. These little services are often the best way to test out a new repair shop.