Fixing cars is hard. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a downright difficult job. And the most challenging aspect of it may surprise you. It isn’t spending hours diagnosing an engine problem only to discover a transmission is to blame, or the frustration of finding more repairs are needed after performing $1500 of work. It’s actually cutting through the pervasive misperception that as auto repair professionals, we are somehow inherently engaging in unethical or dishonest business practices. We’ve been called every name in the book, accused of thievery, and even accused of sabotage! Believe me, cars don’t need any assistance with breaking; they break just fine on their own. As a business owner who lives and works in Ashland, I take this to heart. I’m a perfectionist, and often stay awake through the night thinking of ways to improve our facility and our services. I know that many people have experienced terrible service in the industry, and that makes me more motivated to set forth a new standard. Most importantly, even the best shop will occasionally make mistakes—we’ve made mistakes. But when we do, we take responsibility, and we do whatever it takes to correct them.
I would encourage any car owner to choose a shop that “feels” right, and one that employs ASE certified technicians, with at least one current Master Certified Technician on staff. ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) is an independent, non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals. An ASE certified shop will offer a nationwide warranty on their parts and services, scrutinize their parts and vendors, employ professionals up-front to communicate with customers regarding their vehicle’s needs, and they’ll provide their employees with the continual training and education required by this constantly changing field. Be prepared to pay for the testing required to determine what is wrong with the vehicle, as this is one of the technician’s more challenging tasks. Accurate testing requires the most skilled technicians, and the most expensive equipment (software). We often find ourselves telling customers “fixing the problem is the easy part, its discovering the problem that’s so difficult!” Services vary from shop to shop, but professional shops tend to have very similar procedures and standards to which they adhere.
Finally, don’t hesitate to bring your concerns or frustrations to the attention of the owner or manager. Often, a miscommunication or mistake can be remedied by a sincere effort on the part of the business owner, but only if they’re aware of the problem.