SOURCE: Automobile Club of Southern California

September 21, 2006 13:52 ET

Auto Club: How to Find a Good Mechanic for Your Car or Truck

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 21, 2006 -- To help motorists avoid being deceived by unscrupulous repair technicians who add unneeded maintenance services, the Automobile Club of Southern California says that it's important to know how to find an honest auto mechanic to maintain their car or truck.

The Auto Club recommends the following tips to find a great mechanic for your vehicle:

--  Don't wait for a breakdown.  The best time to find a repair facility
    is when you don't need one. Ideally, try out a repair shop for a minor
    service first like an oil change.
--  Ask family, friends and neighbors for referrals.  Your personal
    network, including business associates, is a great place to start asking
    about the relationships they have with their mechanics.
--  Find out if the repair facility is AAA-Approved.  The Auto Club has
    done the legwork for you and put their seal of approval on approximately
    600 repair facilities in Southern California.  The shops must pass frequent
    facility inspections, pass an annual customer satisfactions survey and
    allow AAA to investigate and resolve Auto Club member complaints before
    gaining, and retaining, AAA approval.
--  Evaluate the repair shop.  Check the appearance and cleanliness of the
    repair facility.   Does it have a comfortable waiting room? Are the repair
    service bays clean? Dave Skaien, program development manager of the AAA-
    Approved Auto Repair Program, says that cleanliness says a lot about a shop
    owner's abilities and commitment to customer service.
--  Are technician Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications
    displayed? Automotive technician certification is NOT state-required.
    These certificates will tell you what mechanical systems the technician is
    tested and certified to work on.  Ask if the facility has any other
--  Is the shop a fixture in the community? Find out how long the repair
    facility has been in business under the same ownership.
--  Get a written estimate. By law, the cost cannot exceed the estimate
    without your approval.
--  After the repair work is finished. Look for a minimum 12-month or
    12,000 mile warranty. And ask what other guarantees the facility offers on
    completed repairs.  Ask that the replaced parts be returned to you at the
    time your vehicle's "symptoms" are written-up, Skaien says. They can come
    in handy in a repair dispute.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Carol Thorp
    Elaine Beno