Most of us will end up requiring the services of a professional auto technician at least a few times a year. But, when you end up at the auto shop for your next car repair, what should you expect? What are the standards of honesty, performance and customer service that every repair shop should live up to? Certainly, some places will live up to higher standards than others, but all car repair shops should meet a minimum of these standards. What should you expect (or demand) from your repair shop?

One thing that is certainly required by any honest and professional repair shop is a written estimate for the services to be performed. If you go to an auto shop and they do not provide you with a written estimate, you should be worried (and maybe consider getting your vehicle repaired somewhere else). Repair advice is great, but if it does not come ultimately in the form of a written estimate for your car repair, you can’t be sure that you won’t be charged additionally for add-on services and repairs that were ‘discovered’ during the course of the normal work.

Make sure that your auto shop provides a minimum standard of service. (photo by anyjazz65 via Flickr)
Make sure that your auto shop provides a minimum standard of service. (photo by anyjazz65 via Flickr)

You should also expect that the auto shop that you patronize with your business will stick to the written estimate that they provide for repair advice on your car. It is true that occasionally your auto technician will find additional problems or repair work that needs to be done in the course of performing the original car repair, but even if this is the case the technician should inform you of this additional work and have you give him the go ahead before performing it (at least if it will increase the cost of the overall car repair by a significant amount).

Another thing which you should expect of a good auto repair shop is a warranty on the work that was performed (and the parts used). If a shop doesn’t offer a warranty, you should run (not walk) away and try to find a more reputable car repair place somewhere else. Not providing a warranty is basically saying, ‘we don’t stand behind our work and we don’t want to be on the hook if something goes wrong down the line’. Now, of course, an auto shop can’t warranty the repairs and parts indefinitely. A 90-day warranty for parts and labor is usually sufficient (although some shops will provide a longer one).

So, remember next time you have to get a car repair done, that the repair advice that you receive should come with these minimum guarantees or standards of service. If it doesn’t, you might want to consider getting your car repaired somewhere else.