SOURCE: RepairPal


April 02, 2014 09:00 ET

RepairPal Annual Car Care Survey Reveals Critical Importance of Auto Shop Certification to Gain Consumer Trust

RepairPal Survey Reveals Powerful Insights From Car Owners in Time for National Car Care Month

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 2, 2014) - RepairPal, the definitive source for trusted information on auto repair and service, today kicked off National Car Care Month with the release of results from its Second Annual Car Care survey. Findings reveal high levels of anxiety associated with car ownership and repairs, pointing to the critical importance of shop certification to earn consumer trust. In addition to the survey, RepairPal also announced the approval of a United States patent for its RepairPrice Estimator technology, a tool that enables consumers to understand the price range of repairs for their vehicle and positions them to be in control of their auto repair experience.

"The purpose of the Annual Car Care Survey is to better understand and measure consumer sentiment as it relates to car ownership and auto repair," said Art Shaw, RepairPal CEO. "Based on our findings, it has become clear that there continues to be issues around trust, making repair shop certification paramount. RepairPal's mission is to continue to equip consumers with the necessary tools and information they need to be in control and empowered about their car ownership experience."

Key findings of the survey reveal:

Certification Comes First:
It's no secret that the auto repair industry has a less than stellar reputation, and often, consumers feel hesitant about trusting mechanics. These issues associated with trust must be tackled head on, and the results from the Annual Car Care Survey point to repair shop certification as the key in reversing mistrust. With the introduction of new tools to help consumers research and evaluate shop reputations and certifications, industry transparency will improve, delivering peace of mind to car owners:

  • Slow Transformation in Trust -- Over half of respondents (52 percent) still believe they've been ripped off at an auto repair shop, though down from last year (66 percent)
  • Money & Mistrust -- 68 percent feel the costs associated with repairs and finding a trustworthy mechanic are what they hate most about taking their car to a repair shop
  • Women Beware -- 61 percent believe mechanics perform more unnecessary repairs for women than men; while down from last year (77 percent), this continues to be a major issue within the industry
  • Certification Over Convenience -- In a new question this year, respondents significantly value certification of quality and a knowledgeable staff (59 percent) over the convenience of a particular location (4 percent)
  • Research, Review, Repair -- Over half of respondents (56 percent) say they research suggested repairs before agreeing to recommended services

Unplanned Costs and Budgets, Oh My!
Car repairs can be costly, understandably causing stress and anxiety for consumers (especially when they're not anticipated). That said, most don't account for car-related expenses in their budgets, signaling a need for car owners to incorporate these costs into their financial planning:

  • Repair Costs a Top Concern: Roughly half of respondents (49 percent) rank unexpected automotive costs as a top cause of financial anxiety, on par with fear of unemployment (52 percent) and emergency home repairs (50 percent)
  • Maintenance Costs Overlooked: A whopping 64 percent admit they do not include costs associated with automotive maintenance and repairs when planning their budgets
  • Big Hit to the Wallet: Sixteen percent spend more than 10 percent of their income on car repairs (planned or unplanned)
  • Quality Trumps Price: When purchasing a used car, respondents report the quality of previous maintenance (58 percent) considerably outweighs the importance of the selling price (16 percent)

Car Ownership is Personal
There's no doubt that car ownership comes with its share of challenges, but it also allows for incredible freedoms. Whether it's hitting the open road or cruising with the windows down, for many, it's personal:

  • Goodbye Connectivity! -- 85 percent of respondents said they would rather live without their smartphone than their car
  • Car Talk Is The New Aphrodisiac -- Knowing about your car can get your partner's motor running: more than one-third (38 percent) think it's sexy when their significant other is knowledgeable about all things auto
  • Keeping Her Healthy -- The majority of respondents (75 percent) take their car in for evaluation immediately or within a week of the 'check engine' light turning on

RepairPal's Second Annual Car Care survey results reinforce the need for increased transparency and consumer empowerment when it comes to car ownership, and RepairPal is the leading resource to improve the relationships between consumers and repair shops. The technology behind the RepairPrice Estimator was recently granted a U.S. patent, signaling the industry leading innovation and quality that RepairPal stands for.

As April is National Car Care Month, RepairPal suggests consumers give their cars a little bit of extra love -- check on any outstanding issues, buff out that scratch on the bumper and maybe even give her a good wash. Head over to or download the mobile app to find a local Certified Shop and check out tips from the pros.

About RepairPal
RepairPal is the definitive source for trusted information on auto repair and service. RepairPal Certified shops are independently and rigorously screened for quality, skill, parts, pricing, and a proven track record of customer satisfaction -- well beyond traditional consumer reviews. There are nearly 700 RepairPal Certified Shops across 45 states that guarantee the quality of their work with a minimum warranty, commit to charging fair prices within the range of RepairPal's RepairPrice Estimator™, pass a comprehensive assessment by RepairPal's team of ASE-certified master technicians, and consistently deliver world-class service, which RepairPal verifies through personal interviews with customers of every shop. RepairPal's RepairPrice Estimator is licensed by respected brands, including NAPA, Consumer Reports, and AOL Autos. This commitment to quality, unbiased information, and integrity brings unprecedented transparency to the auto repair industry, ensures that consumers get quality work done at fair prices, and rewards the auto repair shops that are doing excellent work for their customers.

About the Survey
The RepairPal Second Annual Car Care Survey polled 2,532 consumers who own or lease a car about their attitudes and behaviors relative to the automotive repair industry, including specific feelings about auto repairs and maintenance, finances, trust and general feelings related to leasing/owning a car. The online survey was conducted between February 27 and March 4, 2014 -- all respondents are located in the United States and are ages 18 or older. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 1.95 percent.

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