Any car owner, no matter how meticulous or careful they are, will one day need to take their chrome baby to a repair shop. But as with any parent with their child, car owners can sometimes be hesitant to take their pride and joy to any old garage. Many even foolishly think to themselves: I can probably fix this on my own.
Here’s the sad and harsh truth, though: you probably can’t, and even if you can, you probably don’t have the right tools. Don’t be that guy. If you notice anything wrong with your car, take it to a professional immediately.
But how do you know what garage to take your car to? What steps should you do? Well, fortunately, every car owner will usually have a list of car repair shops in mind and mechanics they trust who can help out with any car issue. But if you want to build that kind of knowledge base yourself, here are some things you can do:
Shop for Specialty Shops
In general, your car’s authorized dealership is usually equipped with the right tools and people to service your vehicle. There’s just one problem: they can be quite expensive, bordering on overpriced. But luckily, there are tons of independent, specialty repair shops out there that specialize in your specific car’s model and year. They can probably service your vehicle better than the dealership.
Or, maybe, you’re looking for a shop that deals with particular types of repairs. That helps if you’re in a place like Denver, where cars get hail repair more often than in other cities, or New Orleans, where car owners tend to get a lot of water damage from the Bayou.
Do your research and get some feedback from previous customers. That tiny bit of effort might just save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Appearances Are a Big Factor
Once you decide to check out a shop, pay very close attention to the shop’s interiors. Are the floors clean? Do the mechanics wear overalls? How dusty is it?
These aren’t you being nitpicky. The cleanliness of a garage doesn’t only speak volumes about the professionalism of the people who work there but also tell customers about the kind of quality care their car will receive. Try to avoid shops that have vehicles that look like they’ve been there for quite some time or garages that have uncleansed oil stains on the floor. You wouldn’t take your child to some back-alley clinic run by hillbillies, so why would you take your car to a dirty mechanic who doesn’t care about cars as much as you do?
Get to Know Your Car
Now that you’ve found the right shop for your car, there’s one last thing you should work on. That’s getting to know the ins-and-outs of your vehicle. Yes, reputable shops won’t try to rip you off by telling you the gasket in the flux capacitor needs fixin’ and it’ll cost you a thousand bucks. But it wouldn’t hurt to know for sure that your particular DeLorean probably doesn’t have that accessory.