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Auto Repair Guide

There’s no shortage of auto service providers in this area. With so many choices, though, how do you know which one to trust with your vehicle and your family’s safety?

The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) provides valuable advice with an online resource called A Consumer’s Guide to Automotive Repair in California

The content includes this promise: “By following these tips, you can keep your vehicle in good condition and ensure a good working relationship with your auto repair shop.”

Chris Mitsos agrees. He’s a Vice President of Mountain View Tire and Auto Service. “The information in this guide is spot on,” says Chris. “These are the exact procedures we teach our team to follow.”

Here are a few of the key takeaways.

Read your owner’s manual - You’ll find your vehicle’s maintenance schedule and learn what the warning lights mean. The manual can even provide valuable insight if you’re questioning whether a recommended repair is right for your vehicle or if it may invalidate your warranty.

Choose your repair shop before you need it - Have you just moved to the area? Are you a first-time driver? Or maybe you’re not happy with your current service provider. Start looking for your new auto care team now to avoid a frantic search when you need a quick repair. Visit several facilities near your home and workplace. Let each manager know you’re trying to find a new shop and you’d like to know “why should it be this one?”

BrakesAsk yourself these questions about each location:

• Is the shop clean and organized with modern equipment?
• Is the staff friendly and helpful? Does the manager answer your questions willingly?
• Are the company’s policies, warranty details and professional certifications posted publicly?
• After leaving, do you feel as if you’ve been cared for? Did the shop earn your business?

Estimates, invoices and other paperwork - A written service or repair estimate must include the total cost of all parts and labor, along with an itemized list of the parts that will be required. If the shop needs to change any portion of your signed estimate, they must secure your permission first.

Once the job is done, you should receive an invoice that includes a list of all work performed, even if the part or repair was under warranty and you weren’t charged for it.

Guarantees are not required by law, but, if provided, the written document must include details on what is covered, how long the guarantee is in effect, any exclusions, whether the protection is prorated or transferable, and information on what you must do to make a claim under the guarantee.

BAR’s online repair guide also provides details on how to file a complaint against an auto repair facility. Visit the site here.

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