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How to Choose an Auto Repair Shop

Finding an auto repair shop and a mechanic you trust can be a challenge and a huge, money and worry-saving relief when you succeed. With so many choices out there, how do you select the best one for your needs, and the needs of your vehicle? Here are a few ideas.

1. Research directories and ratings online. Search our La Jolla auto repair listings for an auto repair shop near your home or your work or for a shop that specializes in your type of automobile, for example, Honda or Jaguar. It can be helpful to review online ratings, such as Yelp, while keeping in mind that each car owner's opinion is subjective and your experience may not be the same. You can also check out the Automobile Club's (AAA) approved auto shops online. If you are an AAA member, you can also take advantage of special discounts at their highly-rated and recommended repair shops.

2. Read your local newspapers and magazines and the La Jolla Blue Book auto service directory! In addition to ads for auto repair shops and services, local publications also run feature stories on neighborhood businesses. One might be the perfect shop for you. The local newspapers also hold yearly "Best Of" contests, with readers voting for the best businesses in different categories, such as auto repair.

3. Ask friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. If you're new to a neighborhood or a job, ask for recommendations. Sometimes word of mouth can be the most reliable way to find the right auto repair shop. Many times neighbors or co-workers know of hidden gems tucked away off the main streets or in a nearby industrial complex. Having a shop close enough to walk to before or after work, or on a Saturday morning, can help make your busy life a little easier. And if your new auto repair shop isn't close enough to walk to, you can always ask your neighbor or co-worker for a ride! (And offer them in return, of course.)

4. Seek a specialist. Sometimes you want extra special care for your vehicle. It's a classic, for example, or an import. Or it needs a specific service such as a smog check or a new transmission. Check out online directories and search engines, especially trustworthy ones like the La Jolla Blue Book where you will find some of the most qualified and respected auto repair shops in all of San Diego. If you belong to a car club or are an auto racing enthusiast, ask fellow members and fans for suggestions. You can also ask the person or business who sold you the car for recommendations.

5. Take advantage of any warranty with the dealership. If you purchased your vehicle from a dealership, chances are many routine services on your vehicle will be covered for two or three years under a warranty. You might as well take advantage of the reduced costs and reliable, knowledgeable service of these built-in auto repair shops and auto body shops while you can. They may not be as conveniently located as your neighborhood mechanic, but most offer shuttle services and many also offer comfortable waiting rooms with Wi-Fi and computers. The dealership auto repair shops will help you keep accurate records of your service, so when the day comes that you do use your neighborhood mechanic, you'll have a better idea of what work is necessary to keep your vehicle running at its best.

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