Car and truck repair shops – With today’s complicated vehicles, do-it-yourself car repairs are almost next to impossible. Legitimate auto and truck repair shops spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment to perform vehicle diagnosis and repairs correctly. Car repairs can be a stressful endeavor and choosing the right auto repair facility doesn’t help the stress.
Dealership Auto and Truck Repair Shops vs. Independent Auto and Truck Repair Shops
- Cost of Repairs. The auto and truck repair shops always seems to get a bad rap when it comes to the cost of the repair. In some cases this is a true statement. Dealership locations are often in areas with higher property values. In many cases they pay their factory-trained technicians a higher wage then the independent facilities. In short the dealer usually has a higher overhead and has to charge the consumer a higher price.
- Parts. The auto and truck repair shops will usually use original equipment (OE) parts that typically cost more than non-OE parts. Keep in mind that OE parts are usually better quality, so that’s a plus. It’s important to know that some parts are not available in the aftermarket and independents have to buy those parts from the dealer.
- Warranty on Repairs. Independents often times will have a warranty that’s just as good as a dealer. Some parts installed by independents may even have a lifetime warranty. Make sure that you get a warranty in writing and that parts and labor are covered. One advantage the dealership has is the parts are covered across the nation at any dealership. Some franchised independents may also have nationwide coverage.
- One-Stop Repairs. Dealerships usually do most of the repairs needed at one location. Independents may just specialize in one area like transmissions or tune-up. Dealerships can also perform warranty and recall repairs in conjunction with other repairs being performed.
- Technician Competency. Dealerships often have factory-trained technicians, but not always. There are lots of competent technicians at independents, but knowing which repair shops have good techs can be difficult to gauge. If a vehicle is taken to an independent or a dealership ask the service advisor if the techs working on the car are ASE Certified.
Searching for a Good Independent Auto and Truck Repair Shops
If the independent car repair shop seems like a better option it’s important to find one that’s competent. Once a list of shops is gathered, do a search on the Internet and see if there’s any negative feedback. On the search engine simply type in the shops name followed by the word “complaint” and see what pops up. Ask neighbors if there are any shops that they’d recommend. Below is a list of questions that should be asked and compared with other shops in the area.
- What’s the hourly labor rate?
- What’s the warranty (time and mileage) on the repairs?
- How much is the charge to diagnose the problem?
- Do they have certified technicians?
- Are genuine parts installed?
- How long will take to look at the vehicle?
Doing some research before making a decision on where to get a car repaired can save a lot of money in the long run. Ask some questions of various shops in the neighborhood and compare the answers. Once a good repair shop is found, getting the car repaired in the future will help relieve some of the stress involved in car repairs.
Jobs in Automotive Repair Are On the Rise
Anyone that has a passion for working on cars and trucks may also have the automotive repair skills needed for a job – or a career – in the auto repair industry. Auto mechanics receive months of special training, learning diagnostic testing on modern vehicles that have computerized and electronic systems. But there are other options available for working in auto repair, and some don’t require any formal training or classroom experience.
Auto Repair Jobs Keep the Automobile Industry Working
There are thousands of job opportunities available in auto repair service just waiting to be tapped. Professional auto repair jobs – technicians, painters, and welders, for example – require formal training and certification. Many auto repair positions require less experience and training. Some auto repair shop owners maintain the business, doing the paperwork, ordering supplies, and so forth. They hire experienced professionals and laborers to do the hands-on work.
As for hands-on auto garage workers, the United States Department of Labor offers online information in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition, and states in the section titled “Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics” under the heading of Job Outlook, “The number of jobs for automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow faster than average for all occupations over the next decade. Employment growth will create many new jobs, but total job openings will be significantly larger because many skilled technicians are expected to retire and will need to be replaced.”
Employment Opportunities Available in Automotive Repair
Jobs in car repair encompass a wide range of professional and nonprofessional skills. Advanced auto technicians or mechanics, for example, require training in computer skills and sophisticated diagnostics equipment. Applicants take classroom courses, earning certification in specialized areas of automotive repair. Other workers may enter the auto repair workforce as apprentices or entry-level assistants who gain experience by starting at the bottom. Shown below is a sample list of jobs related to automotive repair. Each job, no matter how small it may seem, makes a significant contribution to the automobile industry.
- Oil changing service. Inexperienced persons applying for basic car maintenance jobs should have some familiarity with engine fluids and products that maximize vehicle performance.
- Tire sales and service. Inexperienced employees assist tire technicians and may receive training from the hiring company for advancement. Job sales require training and common knowledge of the product.
- Auto parts stores. Auto parts service associates address hundreds of auto repair questions each day, usually from customers attempting to fix their own vehicles. Many auto parts stores sell repair manuals, but store clerks can access computer programs that can answer questions. Associates who work in auto parts stores may even do minor repair jobs for customers, such as installing new wiper blades, changing fuses, or replacing light bulbs.
- Auto body shop. Auto body shops need workers experienced in welding, painting, working with plastics, and knowledge in basic computer skills at the very least.
- Mechanics or Technicians. Highly trained professional auto mechanics (A.k.a. technicians) have to keep up with constant changes in technology. Vehicle components and systems are much more sophisticated today than they were even ten years ago.
- Brakes and Transmission Repair. Training is necessary because systems are more advanced, but many places offer on-the-job training for assistants.
- Dealership auto repair shop. Auto services on newer model vehicles require experienced workers. Employees represent not only the car dealership, but also the auto maker.
- AC, radiator, and windshield repair shops. Sometimes auto repair shops specialize in specific areas of automotive repair. Many of these auto shops hire trainees to repair cars and other vehicles.
- Detailing, lighting, rim sales, audio, and other extras. These shops are hugely popular no matter how depressed the economy. Auto detailers can learn a valuable trade.
- Department store auto repair service. The work is usually basic maintenance and repair – batteries, tires, etc. – but entry-level laborers can get good hands-on training.
- Automobile Club Towing Services. Workers tow broken down or wrecked vehicles, but they also do some minor on-site repair work, like changing tires, jumping batteries, and so forth.
Gone are the days when a single auto repair shop handled all the car repair business in a community. Today, nearly every aspect of the automotive repair business involves sophisticated equipment and computer skills. A good way to get a feel for a specific type of automotive repair work is to start as an assistant laborer. If the job fits, one can then take classes to gain experience and start moving up the ladder to better paying positions.
There are hundreds of jobs relative to auto repair, including associate jobs in auto parts stores, auto detailing, and department store automotive service workers. Auto repair shops are not likely to disappear anytime soon; the same goes for related businesses. One thing is certain even when the economy is bad: People need transportation. Auto repairmen provide valuable services to a mobile society.