FAQ

Q. What is this program all about?

We help you find a local auto repair shop or related auto services business that is trustworthy and competent. Trustworthy meaning they will tell you the truth about what you car needs and what they did. Competent meaning that they can deliver on their promises by doing the needed work properly. This requires that the shop has techs trained on your make and model vehicle, have the tools needed and use high quality parts. A smile and a positive attitude is not enough….

Even expert mechanics can’t walk into an auto repair shop and know for sure if the owner and techs are trustworthy and competent. Looks can be deceiving. An shop may look somewhat disorganized. Some great artists have messy studios too. A new shiny shop may be shady. The techs may mean well but lack the training and tools they need or are pressured to push cars out the door.

There is no one authoritative source that can tell you what you need to know about auto repair shops. Some states license shops or auto repair technicians. Others don’t. Even if there are such auto repair agencies, having a license that has not been suspended or revoked is merely one piece of the puzzle. We check many other sources which when combined paint a reasonably accurate picture. Shops that meet our high standards are good bets. The alternative is hearsay and guessing.
 

Q. How do you qualify the auto repair shops?

We look at factors in 5 categories:

  1. State Licensing – shop license valid and in good standing.
  2. Certifications – acceptance to various programs.
  3. Technician Certifications – ASE, I-CAR, trade school, college and more.
  4. Trade Associations – membership especially in those auto repair shop groups that have high standards.
  5. Consumer Reviews – BBB and reviews sites that contain shop reviews are searched but are superseded by our own customer surveys.

A subjective analysis is made to grant a pass to an auto repair shop in each category and overall. No one factor (other that state auto repair license suspension or revocation) decides the matter.

Our acceptance criteria for shops are rigorous and comprehensive. There is no one element that can determine trustworthiness and competence. When the many available information sources are carefully considered, a trend can be identified with high-probability. We make no claims that this process is perfect. We do claim that it’s the most practical and realistic assessment tool available to serve the best interests of consumers and the shops that qualify.

See the Ratings pages for details.
 

Q. Are auto repair shops that don’t earn the various certifications or join associations bad?

Who knows? That’s exactly the issue. A surprisingly small fraction of the total shops work to earn certifications or join their own associations. A likewise small minority of auto repair technicians attend training. What does this tell you? Where do you want to place your bet?
 

Q. Which auto repair shop is best for me?

A shop that:

  1. Independent shop locally owned and managed.
  2. Serves and supports your community.
  3. Specializes in the type of service you need.
  4. Specializes in your vehicle make.
  5. Wants your business and acts like it.
  6. Stands behind their work and has a great warranty.
  7. Meets the high standards to be accepted into our program.

 

 

Q. Why not just go to Yelp or other review site?

Do you want a few random opinions of amateurs who likely have no clue how cars work and no basis for judging an auto repair shop’s repair work? People who complain that an auto repair costs too much or that after an oil change their transmission broke so that the shop must be crooked? Anybody can post slander and innuendo anonymously with harmful consequence to the victimized auto repair shop but none to themselves. Would you rather have the expert judgement and evidence of governmental licensing and professional auto repair certifications, all interpreted for you by other experts (us) to guide such an important decision that could involve thousands of dollars? We list consumer review sites to be complete but give them all the weight of a feather in an updraft in our summary rating.
 

Q. Are there any fees?

This is a free service for motorists. The auto repair shops pay marketing fees.
 

Q. If auto repair shops pay fees how can you be impartial?

We verify that auto repair shops meet the published standards. You can verify it too if you understand the technology and industry and want to spend the time. The auto repair shops can’t buy us but they can invest in the best techs, training, tools, certifications and industry association memberships to qualify. We get the same fee regardless of the shop we recommend. There is no incentive for us to steer you to any one shop over another.
 

Q. How do I get a quote or make an appointment?

Call the Hotline number or send in the Shop Referral form. We match your requirements to the auto repair shops in your area and notify them. They reply back if they are available and want to do the work for you. We email you complete information on the selected shop so you can call for a quote and make an appointment to take your car in.
 

Q. Why don’t you list all the auto repair shops so I can call?

Directories can list lots of shops but make you do the work to figure out which is the best for your exact situation. You could call only to find the shop is busy. We are experts and can match you to the best shop in your area. We notify the shops and ask them to reply if they want the job and are available right now. The shops like this because they spend less time on the phone and more time fixing cars. You’ll like it to because you get us on your side to make sure you get the best auto repair shop and are happy with the work.
 


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