Regular maintenance is an important factor in ensuring your safety on the road. Bringing your car in to a certified automotive service technician for an inspection can help you detect any small problems before they become major ones and help you avoid breaking down.
But bringing your vehicle in for servicing can provoke anxiety if you are not familiar with your car’s various systems and components, especially when you are visiting a new shop.
Step one is to ensure you know the right questions to ask and when, why and what needs to be serviced. BCCA has developed a number of resources to assist you – from the Car Care Guide to the Service Interval Brochure. Our seasonal page also provides information specific to the time of year when your vehicle may require different servicing.
Step two is making sure you have a shop and a technician you trust. The automotive service and repair industry is extremely competitive with more than 22,000 shops across the country, so with a little bit of research, you can find the right shop for you.
Top Ten Tips on Selecting Your Service Provider
1. Family and Friends
A great way to find a good service provider is to ask loved ones, friends or colleagues who they use, and who they trust. Mention you are looking for a new shop and ask them if they recommend anyone. The feedback on where to go, or not to go, will be invaluable.
2. Online Reviews
Use a search engine to look up a potential shop and see if there are any online reviews posted by customers. Reading reviews can help you determine the strengths and weaknesses of a service provider and whether the shop may be right for you.
3. Call the Shop
You can learn a lot about a shop’s level of customer service by speaking to someone on the phone. Call to ask about the services they offer and what their rates are to get an impression of how they treat customers.
4. Price Comparison
Take the time to look up rates on line or call the shops to inquire about prices. You should avoid shops that seem to offer significant discounts – offering high quality service, using high quality parts, and training staff all have a cost, and you tend to get what you pay for.
5. Your Warranty
If you need warranty work done, check your warranty for designated repair locations to ensure the work will be covered, but remember that you are not obligated to have maintenance work done by your dealership. Maintenance can be done by any qualified service facility or skilled technician. Keep all receipts as proof of completion of work, and have the service provider fill out a maintenance record.
6. Customer Information and Education
Quality service in the automotive servicing industry means a commitment to educating customers. Your service technician or counter-person should clearly explain what needs to be done on your vehicle and why – even showing you in the bay if neccessary or showing you old parts versus new. They should be willing and able to answer your questions clearly and help you prioritize what needs to be done now for safety reasons, what is medium-term work and what can wait (and for how long before it also becomes a safety issue).
7. Certification and Professional Development
With the complexity of today’s vehicles, which are often described as computers on wheels, the knowledge and ability to fix them takes skill and education. The service and repair business today is a profession – and it is certified. Ask if the service technician working on your vehicle is certified and how much training per year the shop provides to its employees. Ongoing professional development is a must to stay on top of all the advances in vehicle technology.
8. Written Estimates
Ask whether the shop provides written estimates and requires a customer signature before completing recommended work. It’s important to know what work will be done and how much it will cost before anyone works on your vehicle. If you’re unsure about recommendations, get a second opinion.
9. Shop Warranties
Ask before you commit what the shop policy is on its work. A good shop will offer warranty on the work it completes as a customer satisfaction guarantee.
Once you have done your due diligence and have selected a shop, remember that you are under no obligation to return if you are unhappy with the service. You should feel comfortable asking questions about the work being done and leave with the peace of mind that your car will safely get you where you need to go.
10. Be Car Care Aware (BCCA)
Last, but not least, look for signs the shop is invested in educating its customers on service and maintenance. Be Car Care Aware has many tools and resources developed for the industry to assist them in consumer education on the importance of service and repair to keep them safe on the roads. Look for the logo in the shop windows, posters on the walls, reading material in the waiting rooms, counter maps, and if BCCA brochures and guides are provided to you. If not, you can always ask and direct them back to this website so they can learn more. Education is a two-way street!