Find out how long the company has been in business. You may want to check to see if they’re a member of the Better Business Bureau. You can get information from the BAR (Bureau of Auto Repair) website, such as verification of license as well as a history of any complaints lodged against the company.
Ask about ASE certification and where the technicians received their training. Find out what kind of warranty the company offers and what parts they typically use. “Parts should come from a well-known company like ACDelco rather than an unknown brand,” says David Chau, owner of Alameda Auto Care Center. Some parts may look fine, but they won’t work in the same way as the factory-specified ones. They’re not always engineered to the right specifications, which means they might not function correctly.
Beware of advertisements that promise an inexpensive service intended to lure people in—like a $19.95 oil change, for example. Sometimes this is just a ploy to give a repair shop the chance to find out something else about a car so they can get more business from a customer, says Mr. Chau.
It’s always a good idea to talk to established customers to get various opinions regarding the shop you’re considering. “Checking referrals makes a big difference,” says Mr. Chau. If possible, make a personal visit to get a feel for the facility. See if it’s well-lit, clean and professional. Have a conversation with the service provider. This should give you an idea of what kind of company you’re hiring.