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There are exceptions of course, but most women (and some men, too) are not comfortable making decisions on their own when it comes to keeping their automobiles healthy and reliable. Most of us rely on either our fathers, our husbands, or some other male we trust in our lives for help with our cars. And most of us honestly prefer to not take responsibility for that big hunk of complicated metal we drive, beyond maybe keeping it clean and fed!

It all comes down to what we know and what we don’t know. If you want to feel more confident and in control concerning the care and maintenance of your car, (short of taking courses to become an auto tech!), you simply need to choose an auto repair/service shop that will be the right fit for you and your vehicle.

The following checklist is a way to determine whether a shop is indeed a quality shop that will provide you with a stress-free, trustworthy, and pleasant experience. Remember, never be afraid to ask a shop these questions:

1. Are your technicians ASE-certified, and are their certificates current?
2. Is there an ongoing training program in place for all your technicians and service advisors?
3. Do you have experienced diagnosticians using the latest diagnostic equipment?
4. Do you provide at least a 12,000 mile/12 month warranty on parts and labor?
5. Are you properly insured to cover possible vehicle damage that may occur while in the shop?
6. Are you certified/approved by AAA and is that status current? (Note: if so, the shop will have answered Yes to the previous 5 questions, plus you will know that they have a satisfied customer base – all prerequisites for being AAA approved.)
7. Do you offer secure “early drop-off” or “late pick-up” for your customer vehicles?
8. Do you provide free shuttle service within a reasonable distance from your shop?
9. Do you provide assistance with rental car service if needed?
10. Do you keep your customers informed regarding future vehicle maintenance needs?

Either before or after asking the above questions, you will want to visit the shop and note if they have a clean garage and a clean, comfortable waiting area. A good shop will encourage you to visit and get to know them before making your first appointment. Most important, how are you treated by the service advisor? Is he or she friendly, helpful, and thankful for your business? Are all your questions welcomed and answered? Are all the services being recommended for your car explained to you fully and using language you can understand?

By making the effort to qualify who works on your car, you will enjoy peace of mind, improve the relationship between you and your vehicle, and save money in the long term by avoiding unexpected, sometimes catastrophic, and always expensive, repairs.

Donna McCord
Dean’s Automotive, Inc.
2037 Old Middlefield Way


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