How do you find great auto repair?

Aug 29, 2013, 3:52 PM | Updated: 3:52 pm

Matt Allen and I often contemplate on what is the best way to advise the public on how to pick a great automotive service and repair shop. We don’t want consumers to be taken advantage of when purchasing a product that frankly, most don’t understand. At the same time, consumers need to understand that auto service and repair is a legitimate and necessary expense that needs to be built into their budgets.

This past week when communicating a repair to a customer at Tri-City Transmission, the customer gave me the “Gold Standard” for auto repair.

He said, “Dave; I only ask three things of a good auto repair shop; that is that they are honest, competent, and fair.”

To boil it down to just that seems so simple. Maybe it’s a bit too reductionist, but isn’t that what we all want from any service that we don’t understand. It’s a great definition, but it isn’t just that simple, so let’s break it down.

Honest: In my estimation there is a higher level of honesty in the automotive industry than most would venture to think. However, the trouble with auto repair is it is so easy to paint somebody dishonest with the high level of subjectivity and a low level of customer understanding. So how do you spot an honest shop? You are looking for people that are diligent in listening to your concerns and truly know how to embarrass.

Competent: I believe this one is in shorter supply then the one above. Whether it’s at the dealer or an independent, it doesn’t matter. I have seen honest technicians that didn’t honestly know they weren’t any good at their trade. This one is harder for the consumer to spot. Maybe all shops sound the same. But are they? You’re going to have to trust your gut on this one (if your gut is no good, I can’t help.) Auto repair is harder than it seems and a good shop does not play that down. They know it’s difficult but they show diligence and they exude confidence.

Fair: You’re going to need to be exquisite at the two above in order to be fair. A good technician knows how to honestly see things from both paradigms, yours and his. Let’s face it; you may be at the mercy of the business when it comes to auto repair. So you are going to want someone who has the ability to see both sides long before making a recommendation.

When working with a good auto repair shop, these questions will rarely come into play if you have already found one. The business will be well established, the staff is competent and the business exhibits the “Care” gene.

Remember as the consumer you want to cultivate this relationship with your repair shop. In order to do this, you have to exhibit the same qualities that you ask of your auto repair professional. Fair is a two-way street and you are going to have to show some competence in the complex realities of life. If you walk away smiling feeling like the auto shop got the short end of the stick then you need to reconsider how you do life. In a relationship both parties have a goal of a fair transaction.

For more in-depth look at topics like this, join Matt Allen and Dave Riccio on Bumper to Bumper Radio, Arizona’s top automotive show heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR. Call in your questions at (602) 277-5827 you can also reach us at for the best partners, products and advice!

Bumper to Bumper

KTAR Newsroom

Bumper to Bumper Radio to appear at Glendale library to answer your car questions

Bumper to Bumper hosts and a local car expert are ready answer any and all car questions on Saturday at a local library!
8 years ago
Dave Riccio, Bumper to Bumper Radio

Which cars are the best?

It never fails when you’re in the automotive repair business or much more likely when you’re the car guy on the radio. Everyone’s first question at the backyard BBQ once they find out what I do is “what kind of car is the best?” I have never come up with a good answer for this […]
9 years ago
KTAR Newsroom

Summer tire blowouts could be lack of maintenance

Most times of the year, when cruising the Valley freeways you see them, usually more so in the summer months.
9 years ago
Dave Riccio, Bumper to Bumper Radio

Ever have your auto shop fix the wrong noise?

I do want you to be well advised when it comes to taking your vehicle to the shop for repairs.
9 years ago
Dave Riccio, Bumper to Bumper Radio

Are you familiar with ‘Snake Oil?’

Have you ever heard the story about the engine that could easily run on water?
10 years ago
KTAR Newsroom

Ever feel bamboozled by auto repair?

I believe there is nothing worse than being called back from the auto shop or a plumber for that matter letting you know it is more money than they had first thought. Why does this happen?
10 years ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
How do you find great auto repair?