For many vehicle owners, finding the right auto body shop is nearly as important as finding the right physician. The average price of a new automobile continues to rise, and protecting that investment is of paramount importance to motorists hoping to extend the lives of their vehicles and maximize their investments.
Part of protecting your automobile investment is finding an auto body shop you can trust. A trustworthy mechanic whom you're comfortable with can ease any concerns you have when taking the car in for maintenance, whether that maintenance is a routine tune-up or more extensive repairs. Though mechanics differ greatly, the road to finding one you can trust is largely the same no matter where you live.
* Get a recommendation. Aside from his skill set, a trustworthy mechanic's best friend might just be his reputation. Word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers are invaluable assets for mechanics, and such recommendations should be equally valued by vehicle owners. When looking for a new auto body shop, drivers should ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members if they can recommend any local shops. If anyone offers an especially glowing recommendation, take it to heart and consider that shop the next time your vehicle needs work.
* Don't be afraid to get estimates. Drivers who tend to agonize the most over finding a new auto body shop tend to be those with little history taking vehicles in for repairs. This group is likely growing thanks to the escalating costs of new vehicles. Those costs are encouraging drivers to keep their vehicles longer, which means drivers are now keeping their vehicles even after the manufacturer warranty has expired and the dealership where the car had been serviced will no longer do so under the warranty agreement. In such instances, it might be less expensive to take the vehicle to an auto body shop that's not affiliated with a dealership. But that can be a frightening prospect for those who have not done so in the past. To ease those concerns, drivers should obtain several estimates. The cheapest estimate won't necessarily be the best fit for you and your vehicle, but multiple estimates should give you an idea of how much certain repairs should cost and who may or may not be overcharging you.
* Consider the shop's location. Recent transplants to an area who might have relocated for a new job often want to familiarize themselves with their new home base as much as possible, and this can pay dividends when a vehicle needs repairs. The lay of the land also should be considered by those people who have lived in the same town their whole lives. Auto body shops located in affluent neighborhoods may charge their customers more for labor than shops in middle-income locales. And those escalated labor costs might not be sinister. Instead, higher labor costs may be a reflection of the shop having higher operation costs, such as rent, than its competitors on the other side of town. So when shopping for an affordable auto body shop, motorists should consider the location of the shop and how that location might ultimately impact their bottom line.
* Ask as many questions as you need to. Some drivers, especially those who admit to having limited knowledge of cars, feel as if they must simply accept a mechanic's assessment and estimates at face value. Though a good mechanic won't try to mislead you, it's still good to ask as many questions as possible before agreeing to let an auto body shop work on your vehicle. When the mechanic diagnoses the problem, don't be afraid to ask him to explain the problem, including what might have caused it. In addition, don't be afraid to ask about service warranties, and be as specific as possible, asking what a warranty covers, how long work and/or parts are covered and if the warranty can be delivered in writing. These questions and their subsequent answers can provide you some peace of mind, and a reputable auto body shop should have no problem answering as many questions as you can ask them.
Initially, finding a new auto body shop can seem like a daunting task. But seeking the help of others and taking some additional steps can make the process go more smoothly and increase your chances of finding a mechanic you can trust.