Wondering how you can choose the right auto repair shop? Rick Kersey of Accurate Auto understands how frustrating it can be to choose an honest, reliable auto servicer.

“People have so many misconceptions about auto repair shops that I wanted to help consumers get the answers they need to make an informed, intelligent decision when they need to select an auto repair company.”

Read on to find out how to choose a reputable repair shop in Beaverton, Hillsboro or Lake Oswego. ​

What should I look for in an auto repair shop?

First, ask around. Has anyone you know had a good or a bad experience with a particular repair shop?

Next, try to find a shop that has a lot of repeat customers. Customers are more likely to stay with a repair shop that they trust and one that does a good job for them.

And finally, make sure they guarantee all their work with a 5 year/50,000 mile warranty.

Should I choose a repair shop on price alone?

If you are just looking for the cheapest repair possible, many companies in the phone book can help you. But if you’re truly looking to protect your valuable investment, make sure you’ve visited an honest, ethical, professional auto repair company that provides a detailed explanation and estimate and makes sure you’re comfortable with the recommendations.

How do I know that I’m getting an accurate price quote?

It’s impossible to get an accurate price quote over the phone, without the mechanic seeing your car. When you call 20 different shops and get 20 different price quotes, you’re likely wasting your time because chances are every one of them will be wrong. Unless the shop has had a chance to examine or test drive the car in person, there is no way to accurately diagnose your problem and give you an accurate quote. In fact, you should be wary of any shop that is willing to give you a quote over the phone without seeing the car. Most likely they’ll quote you an unrealistically low price just to get you to set up an appointment; then they’ll probably hit you with a much higher price once you get there.

How do I know if the work that’s being recommended is necessary?

It’s a common and understandable fear that repair shops are recommending extra work just to get you to spend more money. But the fact is that any repair shop that doesn’t look for potential problems is actually doing you a great disservice. Quality repair shops do a safety inspection on every car that comes into their shop to uncover those inexpensive repairs that can prevent major expenses later if done now.

For example, something as simple as discovering and then changing a worn belt can save you the danger and embarrassment of breaking down on a busy highway and the subsequent expensive towing and repair charge.

Are all repair shops the same?

No; in fact there can be a huge difference between repair shops. The new technology in today’s cars requires constant training to keep up with all the changes. It also requires the shop to have the latest diagnostic equipment available.

The repair shop with the best trained and certified technicians and most up-to-date equipment will usually do the best repair for you.

What happens if I fail the DEQ test?

Unfortunately it takes much more than a simple adjustment since most of today’s newer vehicles have no authorized “adjustments.” If you don’t pass the DEQ inspections, that indicates a failure that needs to be diagnosed and repaired.

Shouldn’t the diagnostic machines that hook up to my vehicle tell the technician exactly what’s wrong with the vehicle?

While the self-diagnostic system that is built into your vehicle can be helpful in finding a fault, it has limitations. In most cases the system detects no faults, even though the vehicle is running poorly, or the faults detected are incorrect. In order to have an accurate repair, you need to consult with a highly trained technician who can interpret the diagnostic results and perform the needed service.

Does my car manufacturer specify regular maintenance schedules just to get me back into the shop to make more money off of me?

Not at all. Although manufacturers are making cars that last longer and require less overall service, today’s autos still require preventative maintenance. When properly maintained, you can expect your new car to travel more than 100,000 miles without major service. For instance, most engines have timing belts that must be replaced before they wear out or break, which will cause more expensive damage.

What should I ask before I make an appointment?

1. Do they have the most up-to-date training and diagnostic equipment for your particular make of car?
2. If they give you an estimate over the phone, will they absolutely guarantee the price?
3. If performing DEQ repairs, do they have a 5-gas analyzer and emission-certified technician to perform these repairs?
4. Are their technicians ASE certified?
5. Will they provide you a list of satisfied customers?
6. Do they guarantee all their work with a 5-year/50,000 mile warranty?

What is ASE Certification?

ASE is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.

In addition to passing an ASE Certification test, automotive technicians must have two years of on-the-job training or one year of on-the-job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair to qualify for certification.

According to its website, only 2/3 of test-takers pass on their first attempt. To remain ASE certified, professionals must be retested every five years to keep up with ever-advancing automotive technology.