With uncertainties about the prices and credentials of some mechanics, finding a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility can help drivers feel more confident in their service options.
In a recent consumer survey led by AAA, results showed that one-third of U.S. drivers – a whopping 75 million motorists total – have yet to find a trusted repair facility. That is a lot of people who do not utilize the network of AAA car services available to them with their membership.
The survey found that two-thirds of U.S. drivers generally lack confidence in auto shops. Here’s why:
- Unnecessary service recommendations (76 percent)
- Overpriced services (73 percent)
- Negative past experiences (63 percent)
- Concerns that work will not be done correctly (49 percent)
Without taking the time to locate a dependable auto shop, drivers are often left vulnerable to unfair prices and unprofessional establishments during unexpected car trouble. AAA urges all motorists to locate a reputable facility before any problems arise.
So, how do you find a reliable mechanic in an industry that doesn’t have the best reputation? Research!
Before heading to any repair shops, do some digging. Find out how long potential facilities have been in business and check with the Better Business Bureau to see how past complaints were handled. Both can be great indicators of a shop’s quality and ethical practices. The Better Business Bureau is also a more reputable source than online reviews, which could be written by employees or employees of rival companies.
You can also ask family members and friends for recommendations or visit AAA’s website to locate a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility near you. AAA members are eligible for discounts at Approved Auto Repair facilities, plus these shops are pre-screened for expertise, cleanliness, honesty and more.
Go small at first
When it comes to car maintenance, building a relationship with your technician is extremely important. After choosing a reputable shop in your area, be sure to schedule an appointment. Starting out with a minor job (such as an an oil change or a tire rotation) will give you the opportunity to get a feel for the facility without taking any big risks. Chat with employees while your car is being serviced and take a look around. Were the mechanics friendly? Was the facility clean and organized? If you’re satisfied with the shop’s work and service after one or two visits, then stick with it. Letting a facility get to know you and your vehicle can create even better experiences in the future.
Look for AAA car service signs
One easy way to make sure you get a quality repair at a great price is to look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign out front of the facility. Created over 35 years ago, the AAA Approved Auto Repair program was designed to do all the hard work for you. The database of this AAA car service includes more than 7,000 facilities across North America, all certified for their high professional standards. You can expect top-notch technical training and equipment, superior cleanliness, and great customer service. AAA repair shops even undergo quarterly inspections and annual re-certifications to ensure consumers receive the best car care possible.
While the AAA service helps all drivers find trusted auto repair, AAA members also get to save some money! Added perks include: discounted services, assistance with dispute resolutions, a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty, and more.
AAA members can also ask for a free multi-point inspection at any Approved Auto Repair facility with a paid service. When you ask for this, the expert technicians will inspect all the important parts that make your car go, including the battery, belts, hoses, tires and electrical systems.
Tips for talking to a mechanic
Of course, it also helps when you know how to communicate what you think it was wrong with your vehicle to your mechanic.
Before you go, ask yourself the following questions, and write down the answers in a notebook.
- Are any warning lights on?
- When did you first notice the problem?
- What do you hear? (Rattling, screeching, etc.)
- How about any leaks or fluid stains when you park?
- When does the problem occur? (Time of day, braking, accelerating, turning?)
Writing down the answers will prevent you from forgetting when the technician asks. When you describe the problem, avoid using “right” and “left” and instead use driver side and passenger side. Explain what you see, hear, feel and smell and avoid using technician terms if you don’t know exactly what they mean.
With this knowledge in tow, and AAA on your side, you should be ready for any car issues on the road ahead.
Do you use a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility for your auto repairs and maintenance? Tell us in the comments!