Car Inspection and Testing

Compare prices. Service prices can vary incredibly in different shops and even among dealerships of the same make.

Control repairs. Don't allow a shop to do any work without you first approving an estimate for the job.

Dealer’s Service. Go to a dealer for warranty repairs, when the automaker offers to correct a defect. Also consider a dealer for a system that's exclusive to the car's brand—especially electronics.

Specialized shops. Independent shops that specialize in your vehicle's make are more likely to have the proper training and equipment.

Communicate effectively with your mechanic

Specify problems. Tell the mechanic when the problem started, whether it happens only in certain conditions, and if it is associated with noises, smells, or vibrations. If possible, talk directly to the mechanic who will be working on your car.

Speculations and diagnosis. Avoid offering diagnosis. Keep away from saying what you think is causing the problem. You may be on the hook for any repairs the shop makes at your suggestion, even if they don’t solve the problem.

Test Drive. Insist for a test drive. If the problem occurs only when the car is moving, ask the mechanic to accompany you on a test drive.

Ask for evidence. If you’re not convinced in the diagnosis, ask the mechanic to show you. Don’t accept refusal on the grounds that company policy doesn’t allow customers into the work area. Insist on evidence anyway.

Useful links:
7 tips to service satisfaction
5 tip-offs to mechanic rip-offs