When cars break down, consumers need to look for certain things when picking the right repairman. They should check to see if the shop has state-of-the-art equipment and if the mechanics are certified. Most importantly, they should check out the shop's reputation.
One of the worst aspects of driving in the winter is the damage the elements can do to your vehicle. Luckily, there are auto repairmen who can solve most problems, from a simple oil change to accident repair.
“The increased cold really takes its toll on the mechanical stuff in the car,'' said Chris Crosby, manager of South Shore Collision in Quincy, Mass.
The most common wintertime fixes are battery replacements and repairs to damage done when a car hits something after sliding on ice or snow, according to Crosby. This time of year is a busy season for auto repair shops: South Shore Collision is booked for the next two weeks.
When cars break down, consumers need to look for certain things when picking the right repairman, Crosby said. They should check to see if the shop has state-of-the-art equipment and if the mechanics are certified. Most importantly, they should check out the shop's reputation.
“Ask a lot of questions, and don't be afraid to ask for an explanation on what is being repaired,'' Crosby said.
South Shore Collision uses a cutting-edge OTC scanner, which reads a damaged car's computer system and can pinpoint the problem.
Consumers should be looking for a specific certification, called the Automotive Service Excellence, said Paul Sutherland, service manager at South Shore Auto in Braintree, Mass.
Repair shops should try to accommodate their customers, Sutherland said.
“Ask how long the car will be tied up (and) if they offer shuttle service to customers,'' he said.
For a basic service to prepare a car for winter, expect to pay at most $100, Sutherland said.
For more extensive repair, such as batteries and body work, prices can run $200 or more. But Crosby said it's better to have the work done by professionals than to try it at home. He said some repairs, such as battery replacements, could cost consumers more money in the long run if done incorrectly or inefficiently.
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