In my 36 years working in and managing auto repair centers, I’ve learned how to distinguish a good auto center from the not-so-good one.

Pass up the mess and dirt.

When the parking lot is littered with trash and used auto parts, and inside the shop are messy tables, dirty floors and waiting room windows that clearly haven’t been cleaned in years, these are signs. If they don’t take pride in their own workspace or care about providing a clean, comfortable place to wait, how much care will they take with your car?

Beware if they don’t look you in the eye.

Did the service advisor acknowledge you when you walked in, or did they continue working on their computer and chatting on the phone? The service advisor and all associates should be welcoming. Looking you in the eye shows they’re really listening and value your business. If they’re not listening to your needs or valuing your time, would you expect your vehicle to be fixed correctly and on the first visit?

Advisors and techs work on commission.

Since service advisors’ and technicians’ salaries are usually based on how much work is sold and completed, some will recommend higher paying repairs versus the ones you really need. Honest repair center staff will prioritize the repairs you need and complete them as your budget allows.

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