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Whenever You Take Your Car in for Repairs:

  • Choose a reliable repair shop. Family, friends or an independent consumer rating organization should be able to help you. Look for shops that display various certifications that are current. You should also check out the shop's record with your local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau.
  • Describe the symptoms. Don't try to diagnose the problem.
  • Make it clear that work cannot begin until you have a written estimate and you give your okay. . Never sign a blank repair order. If the problem can't be diagnosed on the spot, insist that the shop contact you for authorization once the trouble has been found.
  • Ask the shop to keep the old parts for you.
  • If a repair is covered under warranty, follow the warranty instructions..
  • Get all repair warranties in writing.
  • Keep copies of all paperwork.

Some states, cities and counties have special laws that deal with auto repairs. For information on the laws in your state, contact your state or local consumer protection office. In addition, the FTC provides a complete consumer guide to auto repair.