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Don't Get Fooled By Cheap Auto Repair Tricks - Follow These Tips - Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Don\'t Get Fooled By Cheap Auto Repair Tricks  -  Follow These Tips  -  Colorado Springs, Colorado

When you have a problem with your vehicle, what are the first thoughts that go through your head? Do you think "Oh, I am so happy I have an auto repair shop I can trust..." or is it more like "Oh, no! What kind of ripoff am I getting this time?"

If you are like most people, it is usually the latter! How do I know this? Because I deal with it every single day. That's right! I am an auto repair service manager. I encounter people on a daily basis who have concerns about whether they are going to be taken advantage of when they come in to my shop. It is hard to see so many folks who have been taken advantage of in the past, and the effect it has on their willingness to take proper care of their vehicle. What's worse, is that with the amount of forgone auto repairs on vehicles throughout the United States every year, there is no reason why any repair facility would need to take advantage of ANY client for ANY reason. That doesn't even factor in the fact that stealing is morally and ethically wrong. The worst part about it is that it happens to so many people every day and it usually happens in the chain or dealership auto repair shops rather than the independent shops that many believe.

Now, before we go any further, I do have to clarify some things. Auto repair ripoffs come in all shapes and sizes, however, when I refer to car repair ripoffs and lies, I am not talking about an expensive repair or a shop that may be higher priced. To be fair, there are plenty of higher priced facilities that are worth their weight in gold, and there are many legitimate reasons that they may have higher prices than some nearby competitors. What I am referring to is this. Let's say for instance your car is making a noise while stopping and you want to get it checked out. You take it into a chain shop because you haven't taken the time to develop a relationship with an independent auto repair shop, and hoping that because it is a chain shop they have standards they have to meet as far as customer satisfaction therefore you won't be taken advantage of. This chain auto repair shop may have a coupon or advertised special for your brakes, however, when the vehicle is inspected, you are told that the vehicle requires a substantial amount of additional repairs to make the vehicle safe to drive, AND if the repairs are not completed, then the vehicle will be RED TAGGED so that it is marked as unsafe. I will tell you right now, this is a scare tactic and it is very common with a specific chain brake shop in my city. DO NOT fall for this. It is a terrible sales tactic that is taught to these salesmen to play on your emotion of fear. In my experience, when I have had customers come in to my auto repair shop to verify these findings, I would say maybe only 10-20% of these people actually need work and almost never do they need to extensive work recommended by the other auto repair shop.

TIP # 1 - Try to find an independent auto repair shop, or at least an independently owned and operated chain auto repair shop.

You are statistically more likely to be less satisfied at a chain store than an independent auto repair shop. The numbers show this is the case. The thing to remember is that most independent auto repair shop owners rely very highly on word of mouth marketing. In some cases, it may even be the only source of marketing they do. The reason for this is that most independent auto repair shop owners do not have deep pockets. Most of them, in fact, were working in the auto repair industry for another repair shop before they ventured out on their own to start an auto repair shop. This reason is why they focus on great customer service and making sure their customers are 100% satisfied.

Chain location auto repair facilities are often great. The greatest benefit of having your car serviced at a chain facility is the warranty. What most people may not realize is that with the amount of large affiliations available for auto repair shop owners today, most independent auto repair shops now offer a nationwide warranty. When looking for a good independent auto repair shop, look for one that has an affiliation i.e. Napa AutoCare Centers, CarQuest TechNet Centers, American Car Care Centers, etc. These are just examples of affiliations that allow auto repair shops the ability to provide nationwide warranties. Often included with these warranties is also a form of roadside assistance or towing coverage.

TIP # 2 - When getting to know the auto repair shop of your choice, ask to see the old parts coming off your vehicle.

This one can be a bit tricky, and I can already see the wheels in your head start to turn. Yes, unfortunately there are shops out there that would have the audacity to show you parts off of another vehicle. And, what's worse is that you most likely would not know the difference. One way that may help ensure the services you paid for are actually completed is to not only ask to see the old parts, but also have them show you under the hood where the new part is. The reason for this is not only to see under the hood of your vehicle to help keep you informed, but also because when you have a part replaced, it should not look like the rest of your engine underneath. Unless you are part of the 18% of drivers who regularly clean under your hood, you would easily be able to spot the new part in your engine compartment. Why, you ask? Because all new parts are CLEAN. Most even have some sort of sticker tag that is externally visible.

TIP #3 - Ask about the length and conditions of the shop warranty and get the warranty in writing!!!

This is probably the most important thing to express. There are so many people that do not get the warranty in writing and then come back a while later with a problem only to find out that it is "not covered" or that the warranty "expired". This is a common trick that many auto repair shops use to avoid covering any costs of a failed component or repair on their own. If the auto repair shop uses quality parts and they have good technicians, then they can provide a lifetime warranty if they so choose. Now, I will tell you that sometimes things happen. People get interrupted and lose track of their progress, and sometimes parts just fail. But, that being said, the only time a quality auto repair facility will be replacing anything at their cost is either when they use dealer parts, or if they damage a component during the repair process.

So, the next time you have a strange noise or a funny smell in your car, be sure to remember these tips when dealing with the guy behind the counter. If the auto repair shop is a quality shop with good employees, they will understand when you ask these questions. If you find the person is difficult to deal with when asking questions, then you might want to rethink any buying decisions.

Oh, and remember this saying: quality, speed and price are all related. If you want it fast and you want a high quality repair, it will be higher priced. If you want it cheap, it will usually take longer and use lower quality parts. It may even be repaired by someone who isn't as qualified in order to keep the costs down.

Good luck, and we will see you down the road!


Street Talk

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