Finding a car repair shop to trust

According to a new AAA survey, two out of three U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops.

They cite recommendations for unnecessary services, overcharges, poor past experiences and concerns the work is not being done correctly as reasons for their lack of confidence.

However, the survey also reveals that the majority (64 percent) of U.S. drivers have singled out an auto repair shop that they do trust, suggesting that consumers have prioritized finding a reliable mechanic in an industry with an imperfect reputation.

“To minimize the stress associated with vehicle repair and maintenance, it is critical that drivers find an honest repair shop that they can trust with their vehicle,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “AAA found that one-third of U.S. drivers – 75 million motorists – have yet to find a trusted repair facility, leaving them vulnerable when trouble strikes.”

With today’s cars collecting a variety of data about the health of the vehicle, drivers need a trusted repair facility more than ever. So-called connected cars with built-in diagnostic capabilities can alert drivers to vehicle trouble and help repair shops quickly and accurately address issues. Unsurprisingly, given concerns around data security, AAA found that the majority of U.S. drivers want the ability to direct their vehicle’s data to the repair shop of their choice.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Older drivers are more likely to trust auto repair shops than younger drivers.
  • Baby Boomers are twice as likely as younger generations to fully trust auto repair facilities in general, with one-in-five reporting they “totally trust” the industry.
  • Baby Boomers (76 percent) are also more likely to have a chosen auto repair shop that they trust compared to Millennials (55 percent) and Gen-Xers (56 percent).

To find a trustworthy auto repair shop, AAA suggests that drivers:

  • Look for a repair shop before issues occur.
  • Research potential repair shops and find out how long they have been in business. This can be a good indicator of shop quality. Also, look into how they deal with consumer complaints. The Better Business Bureau, State Department of Consumer Affairs or attorney general’s office can provide those complaints.

• Visit the auto repair shop for a minor job such as an oil change or tire rotation. While waiting, talk with shop employees and inspect the shop’s appearance, amenities, technician credentials, and parts and labor warranty. If you find the service to be good, stick with them. Build a relationship with the technician so they can get to know you and your vehicle.