AAA: Majority of Motorists Mistrust Mechanics

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CARS.COM — Anecdotally, lawyers, politicians and insurance salesmen are some of the least trusted of any profession. According to a just-released study by the AAA travel-services organization, you can add mechanics to that list.

Related: Survey: Motorists Still Not Moved by Self-Driving Cars

AAA found that two-thirds of U.S. drivers do not trust auto-repair shops. Meanwhile, 75 million motorists — about a third of U.S. drivers — do not have a trusted repair facility they feel confident taking their car to for service.

About three-quarters cited recommendations for unnecessary services and overcharging as motivation for their misgivings. Negative experiences with mechanics is a turnoff for nearly two-thirds. And about half expressed concerns that the work would not be done correctly. Older drivers, on the other hand, are far more trusting of repair shops, with baby boomers reporting that they are twice as likely than younger generations to trust mechanics and three-fourths saying they do indeed have a trusted shop (compared with less than 60 percent among both Gen Xers and millennials).

“To minimize the stress associated with vehicle repair and maintenance, it is critical that drivers find an honest repair shop that they can trust with their vehicle,” John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair, said in a statement.

AAA offers the following tips for finding a reputable repair shop:

  • Find one before you need one so you’re not under pressure to do so quickly when your car breaks down.
  • Ask family and friends for recommendations.
  • Find out how long shops under consideration have been in business, as this can be a good indicator of their reliability.
  • Check into consumer complaints against a shop with the Better Business Bureau, state department of consumer affairs or attorney general’s office.
  • Visit the shop for a minor job like an oil change or tire rotation and see how they do with that.
  • While you’re there, inspect the shop’s appearance, amenities, technician credentials, and parts and labor warranty.
  • When you do select one, build a relationship with a technician so they can get to know your vehicle and your individual needs.
  • Consult AAA’s Approved Auto Repair database of nearly 7,000 facilities across North America.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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