Today's vehicles are automated and equipped with networks of computer-controlled systems. Most consumers find they are unable to repair or service their own vehicles.
But finding a trusted repair facility can be daunting. Here are a few things to know when choosing the type of shop:
Independent shops can offer more personalized service by working directly with vehicle owners. They typically offer more choices in parts, and can recommend the best replacement parts.
Franchised/Chain or Auto Dealers can be a good choice too, but keep in mind that since the recession, auto dealerships no longer work exclusively on the make of vehicle they sell, but all makes and models.
Referrals are the best way to find a good repair facility, so check with friends and family. If you are new to the area and don't have many contacts, check online for consumer referral organizations such as Angie's List and Car Talk.
Check the Better Business Bureau to see if the shop has a lot of complaints (or, more importantly, unresolved complaints). This reveals the ethics practiced by those who run the shop.
Don't wait until you need a major service or repair before trying a repair facility. Take your vehicle in for minor services such as an oil change or brake inspection. This will give you a feel for the shop, to see if their quality and service meets your expectations.
The next Insider will offer advice on what to look for and ask for when searching for a new repair facility.
Karen Johnston, AUTO REPAIR INSIDER
All About Automotive, 139 NW 2nd Street, Gresham, OR 97030
Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.