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Car troubles are a part of owning a vehicle, so it’s normal to visit an auto repair shop every once in a while. Ideally, a repair shop should offer a solution to all your car problems and not add to them. Unfortunately, this may not be the case for all auto repair shops you visit, and you can tell from assessing the facility and the people who work there. To help car owners out, we’ve compiled a list of five red flags to keep an eye out for when your car needs some work.

The mechanic can’t diagnose the problem

If the car repair technician in the shop you visit is having difficulty diagnosing your car’s problem or taking too long to pinpoint the issue, it may be a sign that they’re inexperienced or not well-equipped to handle the repair. This is one of the most important signs to watch out for. It can cost you more money and time in the long run if they don’t correctly fix your car the first time around. To be safe, rather than sorry, find an experienced mechanic who can quickly diagnose your car’s problem. Keep in mind that intermittent issues and those that rarely show symptoms can take an extensive amount of time to diagnose. This is especially true if the symptom does not show its failures during testing.

A good technician will take additional time to diagnose the problem instead of recommending extensive repairs as a guess of repair. It is important to understand the difference between an inexperienced technician and a technician who is performing due diligence. We recommend you ask questions such as whether or not the technician has a diagnostic process of elimination in place.

Auto Repair Shop in PortlandThe shop is dirty or unorganized

You can tell the kind of professionalism to expect from a service provider by looking at their facilities’ general organization and cleanliness. If an auto repair shop is cluttered, with dirty floors and tools strewn in the waiting room, it’s likely that the mechanic working there isn’t too particular about detail and may not be as thorough in their repairs. This could mean big trouble for your car down the line. Furthermore, a messy shop usually indicates a business that doesn’t take pride in its work. This is why it’s best to find a mechanic who has a clean and organized shop.

They don’t have the right tools and equipment

A well-equipped auto repair shop will have all the necessary tools and equipment for diagnosing and repairing different types of car problems. If a shop lacks the right tools and equipment, likely, they won’t be able to fix your car properly. Furthermore, they may damage your vehicle further if they try to perform a repair with the wrong tools. Be sure to ask about the specific tools and equipment a shop has before leaving your car in their care. A good example would be timing repairs. Most vehicles can not have timing repairs performed without factory camshaft and/or crankshaft locks, or else catastrophic damage could occur. 

They’re not willing to give you a written estimate

Customer satisfaction is a vital part of any repair service, and making sure the customer is aware of the process is a big part of that. If an auto repair shop is unwilling to give you a written estimate of the repairs needed, it’s best to find another shop to take your business to. A reputable and professional shop will be happy to give you an estimate in writing for even routine services like an oil change. This document should include the total cost of the repairs and a breakdown of the individual parts and labor costs. If a shop refuses to give you a written estimate, they’re likely not confident in their ability to write a comprehensive list of all that your vehicle needs. Car owners should ensure to get everything in writing before authorizing any repairs.

Overcharging for Services

It can be hard to know if you’re being overcharged at an auto shop if you’re not a car expert. However, there are a few things you can keep an eye out for to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A reputable automotive service center should be happy to explain their pricing and answer any questions you have. If they’re not, that’s a warning sign.

Get an estimate on your repair services from a comparable specialist and/or competitor and compare quote details and pricing. If one of them gives you a much higher price than the others, make sure your estimates have the same detailed labor and parts. If so, consider the shop that has the better pricing.

What are the most common car repairs?

For many car owners, the most common car repairs are usually related to driveability concerns, such as engine, transmission, brakes or suspension. These are typically the most expensive and complex parts of the car, so it’s not surprising that they’re often in need of repair. If you’re having trouble with your vehicle, be sure to take it to an experienced mechanic. They will have all the necessary tools and equipment to diagnose and repair the problem properly. With a little bit of research, you can find a reputable shop that will care for your car without overcharging you for repairs.

Understanding Technician Competency

A competent technician should also review your vehicle’s overall bill of health. Say you bring your vehicle in for a squealing sound, and the technician accurately diagnoses a failing wheel bearing. However, if that technician does not notice your leaking valve cover gasket, then your vehicle may not be receiving the most professional care needed. At that point, you could end up having your vehicle returned with critical issues that were never addressed. This is why you need to make sure you talk with your service consultant regarding any additional needs your vehicle may have. This can include how critical each issue is, and list them in order of importance. 

What should I look for in a car repair shop?

When looking for a dependable auto repair shop, be sure to prioritize the following qualities:

Transparency – A reputable shop will be upfront and honest with you about the repairs your car needs. The service advisors should give you a written estimate of the cost of repairs, and they should always recommend any additional discovered needed repairs or due services. A good technician will NOT recommend unneeded repairs to your vehicle.

Experience – It’s critical to find a mechanic who knows what they’re doing. Ask about their qualifications and experience before entrusting them with your car.

Tools and equipment – As we mentioned earlier, a well-equipped shop will have all the necessary tools and equipment for diagnosing and repairing different types of car problems.

Fair Price – Be sure to get an estimate in writing before authorizing any repairs. This document should include the total cost of the repairs and additional services, as well as a breakdown of the individual parts and labor costs.

Licenses and certifications – A reputable shop will be licensed and certified to perform auto repairs. This is an excellent way to ensure they know what they’re doing and won’t damage your car further.

Need Some Repair Work?

Whether you need a thorough vehicle inspection or routine repair work like an oil change, Steve’s Imports is here to help. Our highly qualified and experienced mechanics are equipped with the necessary tools and equipment to diagnose and repair your car properly. We offer competitive pricing on all our services, and we’re always transparent with our customers about the cost of repairs. Visit our repair shop in Portland to learn more about our services!