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zeeblu

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The Best Kind of Repair Shop

Written by zeeblu on . Posted in Uncategorized

Often during Tom Torbjornsen’s radio show he gets the question, “Should I take my vehicle to a dealer, a local independent shop, or a specialist?” It’s a good question, but the answer depends on various factors.

Time To Head To The Dealer

The dealership is obviously the place to go when the vehicle is under warranty. It’s common sense to have repairs done that are under warranty. If you take your new car that’s under warranty for repairs to shops other than the dealership, problems can arise when it comes time for a warranty claim. In this scenario, warranty coverage can be denied if the shop used non-OEM (original equipment) parts or if accessories were installed which compromise the vehicle in a way that could void the warranty. If the vehicle is out of warranty then it’s a matter of where you are comfortable taking your car. Philosophy of old suggests that car dealers always charge more, but that’s not the case any more. Having experienced decreased profits from the sale of new and used cars in recent years, car dealers have stepped up their efforts on the service front. Thus, they are quite competitive in the retail repair business. Comparison-shopping reveals that automotive repair and general maintenance pricing are about the same at dealerships and independent shops. In addition, dealers commonly offer nationwide warranty coverage for their services, which is a big plus in their column. There are several reasons cited for why some people avoid the dealerships for repairs and maintenance: Perceived higher pricing, non-personal service and attention to customers, less recourse in the event of a problem, and technicians paid on a flat-rate basis. However, there are other considerations. For example, when there is a recall on your particular year, make, and model vehicle you may not be able to get coverage from anyone other than the dealership. Finally, consider the fact that the techs at dealerships work on the same makes every day and, more often than not, this enables the tech to diagnose the problem more efficiently because they see the same problems over and over, and become more proficient doing those repairs.

Seeking Out An Independent

Independent repair facilities tend to be woven into the fabric of a community. Oftentimes the owner comes from the neighborhood he or she lives in and knows many people in the community. This gives independents a high grade for the personal touch, generating feelings of trust and comfort with their customers. However, in the past there was a major problem with the independent shop. They didn’t have access to the tools, information, and technical training compared to the car dealers (not to mention the dealers’ access to “inside” information from the carmaker) and thus they weren’t able to maintain and repair current model vehicles as well. But this disadvantage no longer exists, as independent shops now have access to a number of information services, scan tools and software programs capable of accessing vehicular data, as well as factory-like automotive repair training available to technicians of independent shops. The caveat when selecting an independent repair facility? Making sure they actually have these tools, information, and trained technicians. Monikers and shingles to look for when selecting an independent shop are: AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility, ASA (Automotive Service Association), iATN (International Automotive Technicians Network), and ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence). Membership in these associations means that the business and technicians invest in up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment and repair information. Ask to see the training certificates from the techs. If they have the credentials, they are most likely keeping abreast with updated training. So when should you consider taking your vehicle to an independent repair shop? After the warranty on your new car has expired, if you feel more comfortable with the independent shop versus the dealer, go for it. Independent shops are often more convenient because they can turn a repair around faster than the dealer that might be backlogged a week or two. Maybe you want to experience the benefits of developing a personal relationship with your service provider, so that you feel like you are doing business with a friend. For many of us, that goes a long way. Shops that want to develop relationships with their customers will usually keep thorough records of your vehicle’s repair history, so that a repeat problem or other patterns can be diagnosed quickly and accurately.

The Specialist

Specialty automotive repair shops come in lots of flavors: transmission and drivetrain specialists, HVAC (heating, ventilation, & air conditioning), electronics & drivability, radiator and cooling systems, under car (brakes, front end, tires, wheels, steering/suspension), and foreign car repair. But why would you go to a specialty shop? Simple: When no one else can fix your specific problem. Specialists are recognized experts in their field and you want to take advantage of that expertise to get the best possible job done. Typically, specialists have the specialized tools, equipment, and knowledge to render an effective and accurate repair in the shortest time possible. Not only do they have the specific knowledge and training needed for the job, but they also deal with the same types of repairs over and over. They understand the idiosyncrasies of the vehicle and/or problem better than most other general repair professionals. Often these sorts of shops will actually work as subcontractors to general repair facilities, including dealers. Article sourced from AutoBlog.com

Four Auto Body Repair Tips To Keep In Mind

Written by zeeblu on . Posted in Uncategorized

Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. With millions of drivers on the road every day, many of them distracted by phone calls, messy burritos, bad weather or lack of sleep, crashes are inevitable. Luckily, most of these accidents are relatively minor and nobody gets injured. But a minor accident can seriously damage the outside your car. Areas like the fenders and doors are especially susceptible to damage. While it’s generally the insurance company’s job to get your car patched up and back on the road when this happens, there are a few things you should know in order to ensure that your car is properly fixed.

1. You can choose the body shop

Insurance companies can refer you to shops that they work with, but ultimately you can choose who does the work. Most insurance-recommended body shops are reputable and perform high-quality repairs, but there are a few bad eggs out there that cut corners to get the job done faster and cheaper. These shops will entice insurance adjusters with lower repair costs, but that could result in a shoddy repair. Before agreeing to get your car fixed at an insurance-recommended shop, do some research online by searching Yelp or other sites with small business reviews.

2. Avoid aftermarket parts

When you take your car in for repair in, you should inquire about the replacement parts that are being used by the body shop in Santa Barbara. Body shops may use new original parts, used parts or aftermarket parts. While used parts were made by your vehicle manufacturer and perform as well as new original parts, aftermarket parts are often cheap imitations with inferior quality. These parts can corrode, rattle and ultimately diminish your car’s value.

3. Carefully examine paint match

All too often, you see cars on the road with body panels that don’t match in color. Matching a newly painted body panel to the rest of your car is a difficult challenge, and sometimes there can be a big, obvious difference in shade. When you pick up your car from a Santa Barbara body shop , ask which panels are original and which ones were painted. Step back ten feet from the car and see if there’s a difference in color. If there is, there may be additional paint work necessary to get a better match.

4. Check warning lights

After an accident, there are a number of warning lights that may turn on in your dashboard. These can include the airbag light, the low coolant light, the check engine light and others. When you pick up your finished car, make sure all of the problems have been corrected and none of the lights are illuminated. Illuminated lights can indicate that your car’s on-board computer may need to be reprogrammed, or that certain electrical components need replacement. Article sourced from AutoBlog.com

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