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"How do I find a good auto repair shop?" represents a universal concern.

First of all, start shopping for a repair facility BEFORE you need one. Why? Because a more sound decision is made when you're not facing an urgent need for transportation because your vehicle just broke down. We all make poorer choices when we are under the stress of the moment.

You can pick a good repair shop based on the following.

 Does the shop provide an accurate estimate

• Can they  fix it right the first time?

• What kind of warranty is offered?

• Do they offer a ride to work or wherever you needed to go?

• Is  there a comfortable, pleasant, and clean waiting area?

Visit the shop. Is it clean and orderly? Or does it look like it ought to be condemned by the health department? Ask customers in the shop, "Why do you do business with this shop?" Answers such as "They are the cheapest" or "They offer a lot of specials" or "Because the owner is a friend of my father's" don't have much credibility.

Look for responses such as:

"They fix my car right the first time." "I can trust them to do the job at a fair price." "They welcome my questions and concerns and take the time to answer them." "There are never any surprises when I come to pick up the car." "They patiently explain in plain English what the problem is and explain my options."

.Another factor to consider when choosing a repair facility is the equipment available. Is the shop equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, such as hand held computer scanners and diagnostic software, digital volt-ohm meters, logic probes, lab scopes, and on-line computer systems like CAS, Alldata, or Mitchell-On-Demand?

Don't be afraid to ask the shop if they have this equipment. These systems and tools are necessary to diagnose and repair your hi-tech car accurately. Without them, fixing your automobile is a hit-and-miss proposition.

Sometimes it's best to take your car to a specialist. Specialists cost more money initially. But because they are specialists, they often know how to pinpoint and repair certain types of problems more efficiently and effectively. Why? Because they deal with these problems every day, plus they have the knowledge, equipment, and information systems necessary to get directly to the problem.

While "Joe down the street" is floundering and replacing parts trying to correct the problem, the specialist diagnoses with laser-like accuracy. He can locate the problem and replace only the parts that are necessary. Less guesswork and fewer parts translates into money in your pocket, even though the labor rate is higher! Don't be short-sighted!