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After It's Repaired: What Should Consumers Ask Before Leaving the Shop with Their Car

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid

You’ve just had your car repaired. It had been a while since you took it in for maintenance. The brake pads needed changing, and so did a couple of belts. But it was the rotors that really cost you. You had a list of questions you wanted to ask the technician when you picked up your car, but quickly forgot after signing the paperwork.

You realize you didn’t see the parts that had been replaced (and you had asked when you brought the car in) nor did anyone review the final bill and associated costs with you. What do you do? Call the automotive repair shop, and ask for the needed information. Both these items are required under California’s Automotive Repair Act of 1974. If for some reason you can’t do this, either because they are out of the area or you feel too embarrassed to go back, call AutoAid. Our family-owned and operated business believes that educating customers helps them become savvier consumers. To aid you in this quest, we’ve compiled a list of questions outlining what you should ask before leaving your car at the shop.

Have a good idea of the:

  • Diagnostics to be performed on your vehicle
  • Time needed to complete the testing and make the repairs
  • Estimated cost
  • Origin of the parts, whether they are OEM (original manufacturer parts—new) or aftermarket parts (used)

When it’s time to pick up your repaired car, make sure that you have received:

  • A detailed invoice of the work done, including labor costs and the parts that were replaced
  • Any defective or worn parts that were removed from your vehicle
  • A list of prioritized items to attend to
  • Tips of what to look out for in the future
  • Warranty information

Replacement Parts

If you want any removed parts to be returned, you must ask for them at the time the work order is placed. It avoids miscommunications and ensures that the part is not unintentionally thrown away by the technician. This also allows the customer to see how the part has worn.

Labor Costs and the Work Done

The invoice from the repair shop should reflect detailed information on your car, the parts that were replaced or fixed, and the labor costs involved.

Prioritize Repairs

You might ask the mechanic or shop owner, “if this were your car, what repairs would you take care of first and why?” There may be several small things that can wait for a few months and others that will cause breakdowns much sooner.

Things to Keep Your Ears, Eyes and Nose On

To avoid any future upsets, be sure to take your car in for regular factory-recommended maintenance checks. It helps to go to the same shop so that your record of repairs can be easily accessed. If you can’t, hopefully you have kept your detailed invoice and the work that was done to your car the last few times you brought it in. Pay attention to unusual sounds, warning lights, changes in performance, smells, or smoke.

AutoAid is conveniently located in Van Nuys, CA near freeway exits. We offer our diagnostic and repair services for a variety of cars and trucks. That includes windshield repair, check engine light diagnostics, tune-ups and more. Find out how we can be your automotive experts. Call 818-305-6632 or make an appointment through our website. We’re waiting to hear from you.

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