Research on Searching for an Auto Shop

ASE_CertifiedA national marketing group recently released research on “What to Look for when Searching for an Auto Repair Shop.” Here is the summary of the results/recommendations with information about Hi-Tech Addison Auto Repair inserted.

  1. Look for a Repair Facility before you need one.

When a person is in the throes of getting their car fixed, time is of the essence, which detracts from a methodical and logical approach to finding the ideal repair shop. The ideal is to learn what shop has ASE Certified Mechanics that have experience repairing your specific model of car. Also review the company’s warranty so you know what is and what’s not covered.

Hi-Tech has ASE Certified Mechanics and specialists that have experience on hundreds of makes and models of vehicles, so feel free to ask which mechanics are qualified to work on your car. Hi-Tech also offers a limited 24,000 miles, 24 month comprehensive warranty.

  1. Conduct a Social Media Search.

Social Media is a buzz with real and fake reviews. The longer the negative review (long rants crossing back and forth over several issues), the more likely it is to be fake. Also, short negative reviews that lack any form or give any sense of a real event or specifics are likely false.

Rarely will you see a true negative review at a quality shop because the person would feel they could talk to the owner and get the issue resolved to their satisfaction. Only those issues that don’t get full resolution based on circumstance or unrealistic expectations end up with a bad review.

Real positive reviews typically reflect at least one specific thing that stood out as being fantastic for the customer. Sometimes a specific mention of a person or an amazing act of kindness might be raved about. The price being fair or the warranty actually being of value are also common. The positive reviews might be story based, as the customer wants to share their great experience as it unfolded.

False positive reviews are rare, as most systems (Google, Yelp and Facebook) can pick up on the fake items, and either lower their weight of importance to bury it within the numerous reviews or reject its inclusion. Most positive fake reviews come from the same IP address and are quickly distinguished by the systems.

  1. Conduct a BBB Search.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates companies based on consumer experiences. Any company with an “A” rating is worth looking into. There are also a few “A+” companies that provide a higher standard of ethics and better customer service.

Hi-Tech won the Honorable Mention out of 4,000 companies competing in four categories for Marketplace Ethics. We were thrilled that we successfully met all the criteria, scrutiny and reviews required for the Torch Award. To be among the dozen companies that were awarded in 2017 is truly an honor and speaks highly of our efforts to run a healthy business.

  1. Search for a Decade or More of Certified Experience.

Today’s laws allow anyone to open an auto repair shop without any form of training or certification. However, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) has created voluntary standards for all member companies to follow.

In addition, the National Association of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) created a certification program to protect consumers from the scam shops that open for a few years and then disappear. The ASE tests each mechanic’s knowledge and execution of specific work, giving those who excel a certificate of excellence for each specific skill. Once a complete series of certificates are achieved, the ASE awards the mechanic the ASE Master Mechanic Certificate.

Hi-Tech opened in 1993 and has numerous certifications and multiple ASE Certified Mechanics. The team is made up of three mechanics with 10-40 years of experience and three mechanics in training who are in the process of being certified. In addition, each mechanic has earned status with areas of specialty. For instance, Corey holds numerous certifications and is known locally throughout the industry as the specialist that can troubleshoot any and all wiring and computer system issues.

  1. Find a Dependable Shop.

There are too many shops that will fix just the part of your car that needs to be fixed instead of making sure the car’s drivability level doesn’t bring you back within the next month with progressive problems. Finding a shop that will explain the condition of the car’s performance, drivability and safety is essential to extending the life of the vehicle.

Hi-Tech inspections provide customers an idea of what work needs to be done immediately and what can be put off without speeding the further deterioration of the car. Some non-critical repairs are able to wait 6-12 months in order to spread out the expenses, but for those immediate issues, Hi-Tech offers the Synchrony interest free (when paid in full within the payment period) extended payments program.

  1. Avoid Overcharging Shops.

The marketing group found five types of add-on charges that consumers need to be careful about.

  • Un-Needed Repairs: Replacing a part that works or fixing an item that isn’t necessary.
  • Phantom Repairs: Saying they replaced a part like a working fog light without touching it.
  • Bait and Switch: Advertising a great special to draw you in and talking you into a different package based on “your car’s real need.”
  • Extensive Periodic Maintenance: The only periodic maintenance needed is outlined in the car’s owner’s manual. Anything beyond those items is not necessary. It’s important to check the manual before purchasing a periodic maintenance package.
  • Warranty Items: Charging for work covered by warranty is the latest of scams. Knowing what your warranty covers is important and how long it’s good for based on mileage and months. Be weary of companies that state they have the longest warranty at 12 months when Hi-Tech offers 24 months. Most shops offer 30 – 90 days warranty.

Hi-Tech is the recipient of the BBB’s Honorable Mention Torch Award for 2017 for marketplace ethics. We have been investigated and proven to be a company that operates ethically, avoiding the above games that some companies play. All of the recommended work we suggest is explained. For those who require pictures or need a walk-around, we provide whatever the customer requires to understand the legitimacy of our recommendations.

  1. Ask Around for Recommendations.

Asking to hear about auto repair experiences from friends, family and associates will help you determine what companies are worth looking into. However, be cautious of those who only say great things about their mechanic, as everyone is human and makes mistakes. The “perfect” mechanic doesn’t exist, so a defensive friend might be covering for his or her own lapse in judgment or investigation.

The amount of vehicles coming in and going out at Hi-Tech suggests at some point Keep in mind that how an auto shop responds to a mistake speaks volumes about their integrity. The shop that sees value in their customers will look for a fair resolution in order to win a second chase to serve them in the future.

  1. Check with the Chamber of Commerce.

A company’s reputation precedes them on a local level. The hard working effective companies are always asked to support or help with community events. The more people in the community that know the company name, the more likely they are to have generated good will with hard work for their customers and giving back to their community.

Hi-Tech has sponsored several high school level sports programs, the Park District’s Youth Obstacle Course Program, and Rock ‘n Wheels Thursday night summer program. Come every week during the summer and visit our booth at Friendship Plaza on Thursday nights. This year we’re extending our reach to summer activities in surrounding cities as well.

  1. Review Facility and Professionalism.

Auto Shops are always dirty, but a quality shop works daily to counter the affects of the grimy process. Most of the time a person can tell if effort was given to improve the cleanliness of the environment, even when it’s a losing battle. The kindness and professionalism of the workers can also be assessed. How the person greets you and answers questions will reveal a lot about the shop.

Hi-Tech is known for its sense of community. Its approachable family style with professional expertise salted in attracts a lot of new customers. The team knows each customer and happily looks after the care of his or her vehicle. In between vehicles, the team chips in to clean the shop before the next set of cars comes in.

  1. Don’t Judge Location Convenience.

Costs and new laws have forced a lot of great shops away from prime retail locations and located them in industrial areas. Some cities like Schaumburg purposely moved all “dirty” industries away from the main traffic patterns of consumers.

To keep costs down for its customers, Hi-Tech set up shop in an industrial area. This cuts overhead in half and allows for more competitive pricing. While the shop is harder to find for first time, customers appreciate the highly competitive pricing.

  1. Start with a Small Job.

Testing out a new shop is best done with small projects that allow you to get to know the team servicing your vehicle. A simple oil change might be too small, as the work may be given to the rookie mechanic. It’s best to pick projects that could call upon the shop’s veteran mechanic like a tire inspection, air conditioner analysis, or battery cleaning and inspection.

In all cases you’ll get a feel for how you’ll be treated and educated, if at all. You’ll also be in a position to ask about wheel alignments, brake jobs and other more significant and common maintenance work.

At Hi-Tech you’ll get the same level of service regardless of what work is being done. The only difference might be in the amount of education and decision making you might face.

© 2017 Hi-Tech Automotive Specialists, Inc.


About CJ Powers

CJ is an author and speaker.
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2 Responses to Research on Searching for an Auto Shop

  1. Alice Jones says:

    After buying my Subaru Outback, I’ve been trying to find a local mechanic who can help repair a couple of mechanical issues. Your suggestion about finding a shop with certified experience is something I believe is very important n the research process. I will try to find someone that has a ASE certification like you mentioned in this article.


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