15 Important Things to Look for in an Auto Repair Shop

Provo, Utah is a pretty popular city for auto mechanics and rightfully so – with thousands of naive kids who have come from across the county to attend school, there are quite a few opportunities to make a quick buck fixing cars.

As a student or resident of Provo, have you ever wondered if you’ve been the victim of a scam when it comes to getting your car serviced?


We’ve been to a few local auto repair shops and really did feel they “up-sold” us on things we truly didn’t need.

So what can a person do?

Luckily, we’ve found some great advice from Reader’s Digest about what to look for in a good auto repair shop. Here’s a summarized list:

15 Important Things to Look for When Selecting an Auto Repair Shop

  1. Look out for scare tactics. ie. “I wouldn’t drive this another mile.”
  2. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
  3. When you do get a second opinion, don’t tell the mechanic what the first diagnosis and price were.
  4. Does the mechanic have AAA or ASE certifications (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence)
  5. Make sure the mechanic thoroughly explains your repair options. We’ve used Clegg Auto in Provo and they have been great and telling us as much as we want to know.
  6. How clean is the repair shop’s garage? (A garage cluttered with worn tires and empty oil cans is a bad sign.)messy-auto-repair-shop
  7. Don’t sign ANY blank authorization forms! A shady shop will ask you to sign a blank form or try to sell you an unnecessary transmission flush.
  8. Ask for your old parts back so you know if they’ve been changed and if they are really “worn out”.
  9. Consult your dealer before you have work done on a catalytic converter or emissions parts: some of these items carry long warranties and possibly free replacements.
  10. Don’t be lied to about double labor: if a mechanic offers to change your timing belt and water pump, ask them how long the job will take. Some will charge double the labor even though the second task is essentially done once the belt is removed.
  11. All brakes are not equal. Ask for estimates on brake jobs. Many mechanics will use cheap parts and mark them up. Good mechanics who understand cars won’t ever skimp in this area.
  12. Bring your car into the shop early in the week. If you take it to the shop on Friday, mechanics might rush the job to get out for the weekend.
  13. Be familiar with Utah state tire tread specifications. Make sure you have the mechanic measure the old tread with a gauge and show you the results.
  14. Beware of ads for $100 brake jobs – no mechanic can make money on that – it’s a false promise with up-sell written all over it.
  15. A transmission flush is one of the biggest scams in auto repair. Manufacturers don’t even recommend them and your car almost never needs one.

Do you have any other recommendations?