Finding an Auto Repair Shop You Can Trust

AAA Auto Repair Article
By AAA Automotive
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AAA believes the best way to maintain your vehicle is to choose a quality full-service auto repair shop and have service work performed by professional technicians trained to identify potential problems. This helps prevent breakdowns and often saves money by allowing you to make a small repair now rather than a much bigger one later. Also, a shop that knows you and your vehicle can better advise you about work that may soon be needed.

Repair Shop Types

The best time to look for a repair shop is before you need one. Ask family and friends for recommendations, and visit AAA.com/Repair to locate nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair Facilities. While a full-service repair shop is preferred, it is not the only option; there are four basic types of shops to choose from:

  • Dealerships – Dealer service departments are very familiar with the makes of cars they sell. They know common problems, have factory-trained technicians with the latest equipment, and have access to special service advisories from the automaker.
  • Independents – Quality independent repair shops can be less expensive than dealers. At independent shops you are more likely to deal directly with an owner or the technician servicing your car. However, there are a lot of independent shops and quality can vary widely, which makes your choice of facility very important.
Photo by: AAA Automotive
  • Specialists – Some independent auto repair shops specialize in certain vehicle makes or systems. By focusing on a limited part of the market, these shops can provide very efficient and effective service. A specialty shop can be a good choice if you drive the make of vehicle it services, or need the type of repairs it provides.
  • Auto Repair Chains – These shops are often affiliated with department stores, tire companies, auto parts suppliers or other business entities. They often focus on high-volume services performed by low- to mid-level technicians. Chain shops frequently advertise low prices, and can offer good value.
Repair Shop Evaluation

Once you identify some potential auto repair shops, look into them further. How long have they been in business? This can be a good indicator of shop quality. How do they deal with consumer complaints? Check with the Better Business Bureau, state department of consumer affairs or Attorney General’s office. Online consumer sites and social networks can be good sources of auto repair shop feedback as well.

Once you narrow your list to a preferred car care facility, pay it a visit for a minor job like an oil change or tire rotation. While waiting, talk with shop employees and inspect the shop keeping in mind these criteria:


  • Appearance – A clean, well-organized shop reflects attention to detail and an effort to maintain a professional image.
  • Amenities – Quality repair shops have comfortable waiting areas, clean restrooms and shuttle service for their customers.
Photo by: AAA Automotive
  • Technicians – Look for ASE certifications or equivalent factory service training. If no credentials are posted, ask about them.
  • Equipment – Quality auto repair shops have up-to-date service equipment and repair data, and are happy to tell customers about it.
  • Warranty – Quality shops offer at least a 12-month/12,000-mile parts and labor warranty on their work.
  • Look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign – Shop that display this logo have met high quality standards.
Like most motorists today, you may be keeping your car longer. This makes it more important than ever to use a trusted professional auto repair shop. AAA hopes this advice on choosing a quality shop will contribute to many more miles of economical and trouble-free vehicle ownership.
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