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Guide: Choosing a Garage for your Car Repairs

Choosing a garage for your car repairs can be an overwhelming and confusing task, especially if you deal with a damaged car.

The truth of the matter is that garage services are not cheap, so it is essential to do your homework and gather as much information as possible so that you can make an informed decision about where to have your car fixed.

Dealing With A Damaged Car: You may find yourself in a situation where you need to call a mechanic because your car has broken down unexpectedly. This can be a very frustrating experience because dealing with an unexpected breakdown can be stressful.

You’ll want to find one that meets your budget, is convenient, and will do a good job. Here are some questions to help you make sure you’re picking the right garage.

1) Are they a local garage?

There’s nothing worse than waiting ages for your car to be fixed, only to find out that the garage has their workshop 150 miles away, so it’s not even local.

So make sure you choose someone local so you can ask for a lift home if they are late or find out if there’s any news on your car before leaving work early if you need to.

Also, look at the location of the garage and its neighbours – is it in a highly-populated area? If so, you’re probably better off finding another garage.

2) Do you offer a fixed price service agreement, a courtesy collection and return service, or work to a fixed price?

You should check that price before you agree to any work being done on your vehicle. If you can’t find a list of charges, ask why. Work done without an agreement to price is often called ‘pay when it’s finished’ or ‘pay and deduct’, meaning that if the garage does more than agreed, they will take the extra out of your payment.

3) How extended is the warranty?

If any parts need replacing, make sure any warranty you receive matches that of the manufacturer in question – don’t think just because you’re being charged less that any warranty period will automatically be shorter.

4) Do they offer financing?

If you decide to save money by paying on the collection, find out if there is an additional cost using third-party financing. Remember, this money is tied up in your car and so find out if there are any extra fees associated with paying by card, PayPal or other means during this time.

Your chosen garage should be able to offer convenient financing options, meaning it’s in your best interest to ask whether financing is available before committing to car repairs.

Asking about financing can also give you a good indication as to whether the garage in question is trustworthy or not. Garage lenders will typically stipulate that if you fail to pay the finance agreement by the agreed date, then they will take possession of your car and sell it at auction. This means you’ll never have to deal with them again, and so if you don’t trust them, then you’re in good hands.

If you decide to take out a loan and have trouble paying it off, it is worth considering paying less than the total amount due and therefore saving more money on interest. If you will pay off the loan over a long period, you can also always consider paying on collection as there are often no additional fees when doing this.

5) How do I find a car garage?

There are loads of resources online where you can find shops in your geographic area. Sites like Yelp review car garages from a customer perspective, but they might not be the best resource for consumers who don’t have much experience with cars.

6) How do I know they’re trustworthy?

Experts at DPF parts direct shop recommend checking out AutoMD or CarMD, which connect you directly with mechanics and let you look up their certifications and qualifications. There are plenty of benefits to choosing a garage based on other people’s recommendations and online reviews.

However, the problem with these tactics is that they rely on the honesty of others, and we all know that reviews can be biased, especially when it comes to something as subjective as a mechanic.

7) Does the garage offer the service or repair I need?

Is their estimate based on a written diagnosis of my car’s issues? It’s always best to have your car diagnosed by a certified mechanic.

How long will it take them to fix my car? Will they treat my car as a priority, or will I wait for days to get my car back? Ask about what happens if you have a problem with your car after you pick it up.

8) How long have they been trading?

Garages shouldn’t just be businesses; they should be local experts in their field, with a reputation to prove it. So you should probably visit them first.

It’s probably best to check how they look and what their reputation is before you entrust your car to them. Showing up in person is the best way to get a feel for the quality of their work and the atmosphere of the place.

In addition, you can get a sense of how knowledgeable their staff is and accommodate walk-in traffic with their schedule.

9) Are they insured and registered?

Although there is government legislation in place to protect you from dodgy business practices, make sure that your chosen garage is up to date with their insurances and licences, you can do this online.

Not only will this give you peace of mind, but financially being an official garage will save you a lot of money because if anything goes wrong and it’s not your fault, then you should be able to claim for the repairs elsewhere.

Final thoughts

Choosing a garage for your car repairs is not an easy thing to do as you need to weigh up many factors. You will also need to check the garage’s reputation and talk to some of the previous customers of the garage.

You can first go online and research what previous customers have said. Ideally, you want to look for recent reviews, as older reviews may be outdated. Alternatively, you can ask your friends or family who they would recommend.

However, if there are no recommendations available, you can turn to rating sites like Angie’s list as they have reviews and ratings from many users who have used the service.

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