Finding the best garage to care for your car can be a real challenge.
In fact ‘Which’, the consumer champion, says “When you book your car in for a service, it’s a lottery whether you get a good garage or a mixture of ineptitude and deceit”.
And that’s a pretty scary place to be.
Fortunately,there are some sensible ways to eliminate the good from the downright bad and find the best local car garage for you.
So it’s worth investing a little time because there’s nothing worse than taking your car to an unknown garage only to find yourself worrying whether they’ll actually do the work they charge for………or if they’ll invoice you the price of a decent holiday to do it!
After all, your car is probably the most expensive thing in your life –second only to your house – so when it needs looking after you want the peace of mind that whichever garage you take it to will be fair and honestabout anything that needs doing.
Here are 10 useful tips to help ensure you find a good local car garage to care for your car
Get all your car details together.
Check your owner’s handbook,your car model, registration, fuel type, engine size, mileage and any previous service history paperwork you may have.
The handbook will indicate the type of service advised for the mileage the vehicle has done, but as a general rule of thumb you should alternate an interim service with a major service every other year.
If you can, pay a personal visit.
If they’re local, drop in without booking an appointment. See how helpful and courteous the staff are and the type of work they are undertaking. The best time to visit is after 9 or just after lunch which is when the morning and afternoon rush is over.
Check out their competence and the warranties they offer.
It’s important to see howthe technicians and reception operate and get a feel for their quality control. Don’t be fooled by a glitzy reception, we all know you don’t judge a book by the cover – and technicians in smaller independent garages will often talk with you directly.
What you’re looking for is anything that shows you they are genuinely interested in their customers, the quality of workmanship, the length of warranty they offer on the work they do and the procedures they have for dealing with problems.
Check whether they are pro-active in trying to save you money.
For example, do they offer any ‘discount club’ memberships to help customers save money on a regular basis?
Take a look at what people are actually saying about them.
This is easily done via search engines such as Google or Bing; simply type in the company name and the word ‘reviews’ next to it in the search bar (for example C&R have a lot of customer reviews on a local review site www.cambridgeonline.co.uk) that tell you exactly what customers have experienced, and give a fair indication of how good (or bad) we are.
Visit the garage personally.
While you are there, see if there are any other customers around and ask them questions about their typical experience.Try to find out
• Why they use this garage
• The type of work they’ve had done
• Whether the bill was the same as the quote
• If the work was done correctly and on-time
• Whether the garage kept them in the picture and advised in good time when the vehicle was ready?
• What warranty was offered?
• How happy they were with the prices?
If the answers are all positive, chances are you’re in a great place that’ll look after both you and your car really well and won’t charge a fortune to do so.
Ask about ‘Guarantees’ – Do they offer any and if so what do they involve?
Anyone can make promises, but if someone is offering you a no quibble ‘satisfaction or your money back guarantee’ it’s pretty clear they’re committed to giving you the best experience ever.
Size doesn’t matter!
OK, we know this is a rumour put about by blokes – but if you apply it to a garage and the criteria we have discussed are in place ANDthe quality of the parts and warranties are equal, it’s likely that the pricing will be good too. At that point, it’s just a matter of where you feel most comfortable.
Check your warranty
All new cars come with a manufacturer’s warranty and it’s worth checking to see what’s covered – and what isn’t.EEC rules mean that cars under warranty no longer need servicing by a franchised dealer as long as they’re serviced by a qualified garage that follows the manufacturer’s guidelines and fits quality parts.
Don’t take what is said on a company’s website as the absolute truth – there are no real regulations regarding the claims they make and you don’t want to risk your hard earned money by falling for the first smooth talking technician you meet!
How to find us
We’re just off the A14 at the Cambridge Road Industrial Estate in Milton; just a stone’s throw from Tesco and the Milton Country Park.
Monday to Friday from 8:30am until 5:30pm
Saturday 8:30am until 12.30pm