We’ve all heard lots of stories about dishonest auto repair shops. My customers here at All Tune and Lube Tempe have told me enough of them about other shops. It’s not too hard to understand since most people don’t know a lot about how their car works or what it takes to do the repairs. The good news is that the vast majority of independent auto repair shops are honest and want to provide their customers with value for their service. But there are crooks in every business. Here are some ways to protect yourself and spot the rotten apple.
Few dishonest businesses last long. Once word gets out that shady, shoddy or unnecessary work is being done that’s pretty much the end unless they have an outsized advertizing budget! If the shop has been in business for more than a couple years and is still busy you can bet they’re doing something right.
Check reviews! You can’t fool the internet.
Professionalism shows. Crooks aren’t proud of themselves, an honest businessman is. Is the shop and customer area clean and well ordered? Are they associated with the BBB or ASE?
Make sure the service writer explains to you in detail what the problem is and what it’s likely to take to make the repairs. Also, they should be pleased to take you to your car and show you what they’ve found. Ask for your old parts to make sure they were actually replaced. Get an estimate of repairs before the work starts.
You don’t have to pay for repairs you didn’t authorize. It’s not uncommon to find additional issues once the vehicle is on the rack that neither you or the technician were aware of at the start but there is no excuse for a shop to perform repairs you didn’t OK.
In Arizona it’s also not legal for an auto repair shop to hold your vehicle because it needs a repair. If any shop tells you that they can’t release your vehicle to you until some repair has been made they’re misinformed or trying to rob you.
Communication. An honest shop will be in touch with you throughout the repair process.
There really aren’t that many shady shops around but they do exist. Keep an eye on these few things and you should be fine.
From your local mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete auto repair and maintenance.