Your Guide To Screening Auto Repair Shops

  • By Lea Naiz
  • 28 Jun, 2017

Auto Shop Selection

How Do You Determine If an Auto Shop will Treat You Right?

Let’s face it, auto repair is scary business for most people. With opportunists and scammers growing more prevalent in this tougher economy, it’s harder than ever to know if you can trust an auto shop these days. I know the tendency is to be leery of a repair shop until you’ve done business with them a number of times. This is normal. After all it takes time to get to know people.

You probably don’t know me (Todd Colchin) and you’re likely wondering if this is an attempt to “pull one over on you.” I can’t say that I blame you. No one likes to feel vulnerable or taken advantage of … including me.

That’s why I decided to put this information together. You want to be able to trust your auto repair professionals to do quality work at a fair price. You want to drive away from the shop after repairs have been made feeling good about the experience, not feeling taken advantage of (or worse). So whether you end up visiting Colchin Automotive for your vehicle repairs or using this information to go somewhere else, I hope it helps you choose a shop that treats you with respect.

In this checklist, I’ll share with you seven questions you should ask every auto repair company before you set up an appointment. This guide is designed to help take the stress and worry out of your auto repair process. It’s stressful enough to have your vehicle go down, you don’t need the added stress of wondering if you’re going to get ripped off in the repair process.  Download a printable checklist here.

Do you guarantee all your work with a minimum 36 month / 36,000 mile warranty that covers both parts and labor? If they don’t offer this warranty, or better, keep looking.

Do you have online reviews (make sure you ask for reviews on sites other than their own – Google, City Search, Yelp, etc.)

Ask if they will provide you with a list of customers that you can call. Of course you are likely to get names and numbers of their happiest customers but it’s still worth calling them. Ask questions to determine if you’d like working with the shop.

Here are a few examples:

  • Has your repair shop ever made mistakes on your car and, if so, how well did they react?
  • Do the company representatives take the time to explain the repairs and offer advice for how to avoid future problems?
  • Does your Service Advisor offer to show you the work they did?
  • Does your Service Advisor answer questions in terms that are understandable?
  • Are their employees ASE certified?

Companies that invest in this certification are professional and usually dedicated to providing quality repairs and service.

Ask the company representative if they can give an example of a repair or diagnostic that got botched and what they did to make it right? If they stumble on this one, move on. We’re all human, which means we all make mistakes. It’s how the company deals with mistakes that makes all the difference. Honest people will share a story they aren’t so proud of and they’ll tell you what they did to set things right.

Ask if you can visit the shop before you schedule an appointment. It’s a pain but worth the time. This gives you a chance to look around and get a feel for the “personality” of the shop. Check for cleanliness, attentiveness to you and others in the waiting room, ask to tour the shop and see if the owner is available for a quick chat.

Lastly, check in with your “gut”. If you feel good about your initial call or visit, check this one off. If you’re “gut feel” is tugging at you, call the next shop on your list.

You won’t hear this word very often from me. I believe that honesty is something a person and a company must earn and work to retain every single day. Honesty cannot be sold and I feel it should not be used in advertising. As a customer of Colchin Automotive you must draw your own conclusions about the integrity and ethics standard by which my company operates.

I want to thank you for taking your time to read this information. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me personally, Todd Colchin, at 303-431-5421 or email me at
Come visit us to see what Colchin Automotive can do for you and your vehicles,

Todd Colchin
Colchin Automotive, Inc.

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