When searching for auto service in Albany, NY, it’s important that you find a quality independent garage or schedule some time with the reputable service department at your trusted dealership. That way, you know you won’t get bamboozled out of car parts, pricing, labor, or anything else that could go wrong when dealing with shady mechanics. Here, Captain Obvious prepares you with a simple 3-step process to avoid getting screwed when pursuing auto repair or service.
First, ask around about the garage, dealership, or service department in question. Even if it’s a chain shop, they could still have untrained monkeys wielding wrenches. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to discover there are actually highly capable technicians whose skills you can utilize at bargain prices? Second, if you are unable to discover anything via good old fashioned phone calls, then it’s time to take to the internet. Third, when you finally get to the place in question, make sure it meets your visual approval. If something seems off, chances are it is.
Is this process foolproof? Not necessarily, but it’s 90% of the way there — and much better than going in blind.
Step One: Ask Around
When I say ask around, I seriously mean ask around. I don’t care if it’s a big dealership, small independent garage, or quick-lube chain shop: ask about it. Friends, neighbors, enemies; ask them all. See if any of them have had any experience dealing with the mechanics in question, and ask a few questions about their experiences.
Were the techs friendly? If the answer is no, then why even bother in the first place? If the answer is yes, then move onto the next question.
Oh, you got an oil change? Did it cost an arm and a leg? If yes, walk away. But, if the service was surprisingly reasonable, then present the next question.
Did it take a day and a half to do — insert generic car service here — or was it completed in a reasonable timeframe? If the answer is ugh, it took forever – ask if it was because the shop was super busy. If it wasn’t, then that means the techs might have been dragging their feet doing the job. Who has time for that?
This is where the next step comes in. Honestly, you could just skip to step two if you felt like it. However, step one is a great way to get some quick answers to some basic questions that actually reveal a lot about the service department.
Ask around. It’s worth it.
Step Two: Take to the Internet
If you aren’t satisfied with the answers you got from asking those you know, then consider consulting the internet. After all, it’s a wealth of knowledge — and can be used for much more than just looking at YouTube clips and cat gifs.
All you need to do is start by Googling the name of the dealership, corner garage, or quick-lube chain in order to find the website. Then, you’ll want to go check out the reviews page, and pay attention to any negative comments that you might see. Chances are if they have more positive than negative reviews online, they are okay.
Don’t just listen to the reviews, either. Try and do some independent research about the garage or dealership of interest. You’ll be surprised how much information can pop up about it, and if you find a thread started somewhere on a forum, you’ve practically found gold.
Make sure to be thorough with your online research because other than actually going to check it out yourself, this is your best shot at figuring out if this is a trustworthy place to go to. Alternatively, you might not find a website for a smaller and independent garage. So if you skipped to step two, without even attempting step one, you might never have discovered that the corner garage is actually the best one around.
Step Three: Check it Out Yourself
Think of this as the last step in the process. It’s time to actually check out what you found online. Don’t just take the internet’s word for it, because while it might be a trustworthy establishment, it still might not suit your needs.
Look around the shop and pay attention to a few things. Is the shop clean? Typically, professional mechanics who care about their work will have a clean and organized work environment.
If it’s one of those quick-lube garages, make sure to talk to the mechanics working there. Do they seem interested and care about working on your vehicle? Or are they just going to charge you for a full oil change, and leave the old filter on the car in the process? I typically like to avoid these places personally, and would much rather go to a reputable corner garage or service department in the dealership.
A service department in the dealership is typically a safe bet. These service departments are more than likely to present a modern and clean environment. Typically, the technicians are trained, and have some sort of certification in order to prove they are competent enough to work on vehicles.
That’s it, three simple steps. At the end of the day, and as with most decisions, it all comes down to just going with what your gut is telling you. If you are getting a bad vibe from a place, or something seems off, then chances are there is something wrong. If that’s the case, walk away and find somewhere else to get your car repaired. Captain Obvious, signing off…