How to Choose a Good Transmission Repair Shop

December 7th, 2015 by

A automotive transmission, disassembled. Photo by A7N8X, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

If you’ve ever had to bring your car in for transmission repairs, you may already know how much of a major pain it can be. In many cases, this is an expensive job requiring hours of labor and, frequently, new parts.

That’s why it’s important to be especially discerning when choosing a transmission repair shop. When you’ve got a mechanic taking apart and repairing what is essentially the heart of your car, you need to make sure that mechanic is a trustworthy professional. By keeping a few simple tips in mind, you can get the repairs your transmission needs while staying satisfied and worry-free.

Ask Around

It’s always a good idea to look for recommendations – from friends, family, colleagues, and, if possible, from other mechanics. Next time you’re with a mechanic who specializes in some other repair – say, a brake repair specialist – ask who they’d use for transmission repair. Nobody knows a pro like a pro.

Look for a Transmission Repair Shop with Certified Mechanics

For mechanics, there are often various certifications available to verify an advanced degree of specialized training. When you look for a mechanic, keep this in mind – often, a specialist will do an excellent job at a fair price because that is their prime business.

When choosing a mechanic, at least make sure that they are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. There is actually no legal requirement for certification to work as a mechanic, so finding someone who has taken the time and effort to prove their thorough knowledge is always a smart move, as it guarantees their professionalism.

The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA) is a national board that specifically tests transmission specialists. This is a difficult certification to obtain, requiring the mechanic to pass several specialized tests related to transmission maintenance and repair. ATRA holds its certified members to a code of ethics and offers a nationwide warranty for transmission repairs, which could save you time and money with a job done right the first time.

Ask any mechanic to see his certification prior to starting any work on your car. It should be displayed on his wall, or at the very least available upon request.

Get an Estimate

It’s certainly not a bad idea to request a written estimate from any mechanic prior to agreeing to any labor. Chances are, an experienced repair shop should be able to diagnose the problem early on, and then tell you what the estimated cost for repairs will be.

By having an estimate in writing, yo also insure yourself against any surprise fees or costs when all is said and done. It is illegal for a repair shop to charge more than a pre-quoted estimate without your approval, and so having proof of a prior agreement can protect you from spending more than you thought.

Find a Vocational School

For those who need transmission repairs and really can’t afford a huge bill, there are often programs at vocational schools and colleges where students working under the instruction of a certified teacher will do basic repairs on your car, often at a fraction of the cost of a professional mechanic. Though more cost effective, this can often be a much longer process, however, and so those in need of immediate repairs may not be as satisfied with this option.

These are only a few basic things to keep in mind the next time you’re in the market for a good transmission repair shop. When such an important part of your vehicle needs attention, it’s a good idea to find the right hands for your repairs.