Auto Repair Shops…Not All Are Created Equal
At Pueblo Tires & Service in Brownsville, TX, we know that some folks find it a dicey proposition to decide on the right auto repair shop. There are 50 years’ worth of horror stories about auto repair shops that are out to scam drivers and fleece them with unnecessary services, slipshod work or ridiculously high prices for parts and labor. In light of that, here are some things to bear in mind when you’re looking for a great auto repair shop – and some cautionary notes on things to look out for in a not-so-great one.
· ASE and iCAR certifications: These are two leading industry-group accreditations, from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (iCAR). Both groups set the bar high for their certifications and require that technicians stay current on the rapidly-advancing field of auto repair with frequent re-testing. The ASE/iCAR certification means that an auto repair shop meets their standards of integrity and expertise.
· Community engagement: A good shop cares about its involvement with the community and the people who live there. That means being engaged with causes like Little League teams, events and community organizations. While it’s not a must, it does reflect well on the business.
· Customer care: This is a fairly all-encompassing category and term, but “care” can mean things like a loaner car or shuttle program, a comfortable waiting room with good coffee, recent magazines and Wi-Fi. It means a friendly and welcoming attitude from the minute you walk in. It means little things like seat covers, a steering wheel cover and floor mats to ensure that your car’s interior stays as clean as when you brought it in. “Care” is the big things and the not-so-big things that reflect a real regard and respect for customers.
· Honesty: It all turns on honesty, doesn’t it? Honesty means that your questions are going to be answered in a clear and direct way, and you won’t feel too intimidated to ask them. Any honest shop will show you the failed part that had to be replaced and will OK any repair work with you beforehand. An honest shop also won’t have any reservations about you seeking a second opinion before the work starts.
Now, the signs to watch out for…
· Dirty shops: Would you get your hair cut in a dirty barber shop, or go shopping at a dirty grocery store? Of course you wouldn’t. Your auto repair shop should be orderly and brightly-lit and not littered with tools, oil bottles, old parts and old tires. Is the staff wearing uniforms, or dirty work clothes? Is the waiting area neat and clean?
· Scare tactics: If the service manager is trying to up-sell you on parts that you may or may not need, or if he pushes scare tactics like “I wouldn’t drive this car around the block,” move on.
· No warranty: Your warranty shouldn’t end at the edge of the parking lot. Any good shop will back their work.
· No customers: Good shops stay busy. If the shop has employees watching TV or playing cards, with one car in a service bay, that’s not a good sign.
· Old cars: Are there a bunch of 90s-era cars in the back lot, hoods up and in various stages of disrepair? Bad sign. Really bad sign.
· Curb appeal: Any good auto repair shop is going to take pride in how it looks from the street. That means good signage, good lighting and a professional atmosphere.
· Loafers: It might seem strange, but just like at the soda fountain or the barber shop decades ago, some guys just like to hang out at a garage. Hangers-on tend to distract the technicians and degrade the final product…and they’re also part of that “no customers” scenario.
The real test is always going to be your own intuition and gut feeling. Check around for word-of-mouth recommendations, check Angies List and BBB listings and follow your own gut as to which shops are reputable and which you should stay away from.
As for us here at Pueblo Tires & Service in Brownsville, TX, we’ve been in business since the early 70s, with some of the best auto repair, preventive maintenance and tires you’ll find anywhere in the Rio Grande Valley. You can’t be around that long if you haven’t been doing things right, and doing things right is what everything revolves around for us. When customers come to Pueblo Tires & Service, they know exactly what to expect – excellent customer service and auto repair, plain and simple. Make an appointment with us and let us take care of your auto repair needs, and we’re sure you’ll become part of the generations of customers that keep coming back to us!