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California Auto Repair Essentials

Choosing a San Diego Repair Shop

When choosing the right repair shop, be sure that you:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and others you trust. Search for a repair shop before you actually need one to prevent being rushed into making a last-minute choice.
  • Shop around by phone and online, and be sure to compare warranty policies for repairs.
  • Ask to see current licenses if state or local law mandates that repair shops be licensed or registered. Also, your state Attorney General’s office or local consumer protection agency may know if there’s a record of complaints about a certain repair shop.
  • Be sure that the shop will honor the warranty for your vehicle.

Choosing a Technician in San Diego

You may also wonder if one technician is any better than another. 

  • Consider shops that display distinct certifications — including an Automotive Service Excellence seal. Certification demonstrates that some or all of the technicians meet essential standards of knowledge and competence in certain technical areas. Confirm that the certifications are up to date but keep in mind that certification alone is not a guarantee of exceptional or reliable work.
  • Ask if the technician or shop has experience working on the same make or model of your vehicle. 

Unlocking the Mystery of Repair Charges

California Auto Repair EssentialsAhead of arranging any work to be done, ask how the shop prices its services. Certain shops have a flat rate for labor on all auto repairs. This set rate depends on an independent or manufacturer’s appraisal of the time required to complete any necessary repairs, while others charge on the grounds of the duration of time that the technician worked on the repair. 

Determine if there will be a diagnostic charge if you choose to have the work completed at another shop. Some repair shops will charge for diagnostic time. 

Shops that do solely diagnostic work and don’t sell parts or offer repairs can possibly be able to offer you a non-partisan opinion about which repairs are needed. 

If you do choose to get work done, you should request a written estimate. This written estimate should: 

  • Establish the problem to be repaired, the parts required, and the likely labor charge. Be certain that you obtain a signed copy.
  • Specify that the shop will reach you for confirmation before they do any work exceeding a stated amount of time or money, and state law could require this.

Now, what about the parts that need to be repaired or replaced? Well, parts are classified as: 

  • New. These parts usually are created to meet specifications from the original manufacturer, either by the vehicle manufacturer of an independent company. Your state may mandate that repair shops tell you if non-original equipment will be used for your repair. The prices and quality of these parties can differ. 
  • Remanufactured, rebuilt, and reconditioned. These terms usually imply the same thing: parts have been restored to a proper working condition. Many manufacturers grant a warranty covering replacement parts, but not the necessary labor to install them. 
  • Salvage. These are used parts appropriate from another vehicle. Salvage parts may be the only source for specific items, though they lack defined reliability. 

What is needed after the work is completed? 

Get a finished repair order accounting for the work done. It should list all repairs, parts supplied, the cost of each part, labor charges, and the vehicle’s odometer reading when the vehicle was brought to the shop, as well as when the repair order was finished. Ask for all replaced parts. The laws in your state may require this. 

Preventive Maintenance

Are there any risks of postponing vehicle maintenance

Many parts on your vehicle are inter-connected. Ignoring maintenance can lead to issues down the road. Specific parts, or an entire system, can potentially fail. Neglecting even simple routine maintenance, such as changing the oil or checking the coolant, can cause poor fuel economy, unreliability, or expensive breakdowns. It could also invalidate your warranty. 

What maintenance guidelines should be followed to avoid expensive repairs? 

Following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual for your vehicle is advised. Certain repair shops have their own maintenance schedules calling for more frequent servicing than recommended by the manufacturer. Contrast shop maintenance schedules with those recommended in your owner’s manual. Even ask the shop to provide an explanation of why it recommends service beyond the recommended schedule. 

How to Protect Your Auto Repair Investment

What warranties and service contracts pertain to vehicle repairs?


There are no standard warranties for repairs. Be sure that you understand what is covered under your warranty and that you have it in writing. 

Warranties can be subject to limitations, like time, mileage, deductibles, businesses authorized to complete work or specific procedures needed to obtain reimbursement. 

Consult with your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency for details about your warranty rights. 

Service Contracts

Many car dealers and others advertise optional contracts — service contracts — issued by vehicle manufacturers or independent companies. Not all service contracts are created equal. Prices do fluctuate and often can be negotiated. To aid in choosing whether to acquire a service contract, you should consider the following: 

  • The cost.
  • The repairs to be included.
  • If coverage overlaps coverage granted by any existing warranty.
  • The deductible.
  • Where the repairs will be completed.
  • All procedures needed to file a claim, such as prior authorization for certain repairs or meeting required vehicle maintenance schedules.
  • If repair expenses are paid straight by the company to the repair shop or if you will have to pay first and receive reimbursement later. 

San Diego Automotive Repair

Automobile Repair Shop San Diego is a family-owned and operated business that has been providing the best repair experience. We will offer you a hassle-free auto repair starting with a precise damage assessment or estimate. We will tow your vehicle for FREE to our shop, organize a rental car, and work directly with the insurance company to streamline the repair process. We will even pay up to $500 of your deductible. Contact us today to see how we can help.