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Consumer How To Choose Guide 2015

Dalton Daily CItizen, Dalton Magazine

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6 The Daily Citizen ◆ HOW TO CHOOSE GUIDE 2015 No one likes to think about needing an auto repair shop, but selecting a good one is like having health insurance — you hope you never need it, but you have it "just in case." When it comes to cars, all vehicles will require repairs or service eventually. You could even say that three things in life are certain: death, taxes and car repairs. Having an existing relationship with an auto repair shop will save time and hassle when your car needs an immediate repair. If you're not sure how to build a good working relationship with a shop, try tak- ing your car in for regular tune-ups and maintenance. A well-cared-for car will run longer and more smoothly, as well as incur lower operating and service costs. Some things to keep in mind when searching for an auto repair shop: • Less than 40 percent of new auto shop customers are walk-ins. Most people are referred by friends, relatives or co- workers. If you haven't received any rec- ommendations, make sure you ask your prospective auto shop for references. • The Better Business Bureau can help you determine whether the repair shop's performance and reliability measure up to the industry standards for expertise and professionalism. • If you travel often, look for an auto repair shop that offers a national warranty. For instance, a warranty of 12,000 miles or 12 months is handy for repetitive issues. • Check the shop's range of services and whether the shop has the latest tech- nologies to properly diagnose problems with newer cars. For example, can your prospective shop handle brake systems, electrical compo- nents and warranty repairs? Do they provide a loaner, rental car or shuttle service while your car is being repaired? • Look for a good customer sat- isfaction policy, good condition equipment and lighting, and clean- liness and organi- zation. These fac- tors all contribute to the level of pro- fessionalism, gain- ing customers' trust and optimal service. • Look for brand-names and proper certifica- tion. Does the auto repair shop uses brand-name parts? These parts are engineered to meet the manufacturer's specifications and will likely come with a warranty. Are the auto technicians certified by a specific car manufacturer, the National Institute for Automotive Services or Automotive Science Excellence? Is the shop approved by the American Automobile Association? If so, this indi- cates a customer approval rating of 90 percent or better and the ability to adequately perform the services they advertise. • Whether you are considering a big name franchise or an independently owned shop, com- pare the usual serv- ices and fees of each shop to famil- iarize yourself with average price ranges. Don't select a shop based purely on lower prices. Shoddy service or poor quality parts can mean more repairs and higher costs in the long run. After you've cho- sen a facility, try to establish a good working relationship with the mechanic. Since your car needs pre- ventive maintenance anyway, take it to your new mechanic for a trial run such as an oil change or air conditioning check. Some services may be offered free of charge. These services can provide you with a good idea of the service you will receive. CHOOSE AN AUTO REPAIR SHOP WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW k j A well-cared-for car will run longer and more smoothly, as well as incur lower operating and service costs. Look for a customer satisfaction policy, good condition equipment and lighting, and cleanliness and organization. k j Check the shop's range of services and whether the shop has the latest technologies to properly diagnose problems with newer cars. Don't select a shop based purely on lower prices. H OW TO

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