How to Pick the Best Shop for Service and Repairs


When it comes to giving your vehicle the best service, choosing the right shop to perform maintenance and any necessary repairs can often be as important as the timing of your maintenance and repairs.

But how exactly do you choose one shop over the other? Is it better to choose an independent shop or a dealership service department? Do they offer oil change coupons and other discounts?

Here’s what you need to know in order to pick the absolute best shop for service and car repairs:

Compare Price Estimates

If you’re in need of a major repair or part replacement, getting estimates can often save you hundreds instead of visiting one shop and giving them your business right away. By shopping around, you get a better sense of what the true market value is for that type of repair, which will help you weed out the marked-up estimates to help you choose a fair shop.

Another tip is to visit forums for your specific vehicle and ask what the going rate is from experienced members. Some might even advise you to buy the part online for cheap and bring it to a shop to install, as it could save you more money than you might think. Of course, labor is going to be the most expensive part of the job, but when it comes to car repairs, any money saved feels like money earned.

Check Out Reviews Online

When you want to know whether a business is worth visiting, the first thing consumers do in the age of Google is search for reviews online. For any normal business, you’re likely to find hundreds of very upfront reviews about the type of service they provide. And for any type of car maintenance or repair, this type of insight before you go out in search of a shop is crucial.

Now, one bad review doesn’t mean the shop is ruined for every customer after, but when the bad reviews (that provide detailed accounts of the experience) seem to be more frequent than good reviews with detailed accounts of experience, it might be a sign you need to avoid that shop.

Compare Hours of Service

If you’re a busy, working professional, finding time to visit the shop to get regular maintenance or even a much-needed repair can seem impossible without a miracle. Unfortunately, many shops close at 5pm, are not open on weekends, and only accept walk-ins. That makes it really difficult for many people to choose those shops, as they’re simply never open when needed.

Plenty of shops, however, are open as late as 8pm, and are even available on Saturday and Sunday. For instance, DePaula Chevrolet has an online booking system that allows customers to choose a time that’s convenient for them that also syncs up with our availability. This way you know that when you come in, we’ll be ready to service your vehicle.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Cost vs. Quality of Service

One of the hardest decisions you’ll make when choosing a shop is the cost vs. quality of service dilemma. Typically shops with a higher level of customer satisfaction cost more than those that are concentrated on lowering the cost of their service to increase volume of customers (which tends to lead to a lower-quality experience).

When it comes to your vehicle, despite quality service being important, I’m sure you can make the argument that price is equally as important due to the high cost often associated with car maintenance and service.

The best way to get through this dilemma is to actually take the time to create a pros and cons chart, including items such as:

  • Cost
  • Waiting Time
  • Customer Service
  • Issues Resolved
  • Special Offers

If one particular shop wins three out of four of those categories, you might have a winner. The most ideal situation, however, is one in which you can find a shop that will resolve your issues quickly and not cost you an arm and a leg in the process.

Dealership Service Department vs. Independent Shop

When it comes to service, this is the most timeless debate. As a dealership, it’s clear DePaula Chevrolet believes we provide customers with a superior experience when compared to independent shops in the Albany, NY area. Here’s why:

Dealership service departments are often staffed by specially-trained technicians who specialize in working on a particular brand of car, such as Chevrolet.

A brand-specific service department often sees many of the same vehicles day after day, meaning they know what to look for when issues arise with different vehicles of the same model. This can often save owners time and money down the road by identifying issues early on through past experience.

Customer Loyalty and Discount Offers

Many shops offer customer loyalty discounts based on a certain number of trips, or simply offer coupons to bring in new business. These make it easier for customers to choose one shop over another because they can save money up front, making the service feel like a bargain.

When searching for new shops, you might want to check their website for special offers, or even search sites like Groupon or LivingSocial for coupons that can save you serious money on your next service visit.