Service center/repair shop reviews

scottdudescottdude Member Posts: 177
edited March 2014 in Honda
I was wondering if anyone can suggest a place on Edmunds or eleswhere on the net to get customer reviews of dealer service centers and other auto repair shops?

I just had a bad experience at a local Honda dealer and would like to share it with others, and would also like to see if there is a Honda repair shop in my area that others have had good luck with.

It seems like it is very easy to get reviews of cars and even dealers (for sales) on the net, but where are all the auto repair shop opinions?


  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I have not used this link... and it may well be considered a competitor to edmunds, and thus taken down, but the Click and Clack guys have a listing called the Mechanix Files accessable from here

    a search on Edmunds for "recommend mechanic" turned 254 links, 53 of which had "mechanic" in them... none of which really got to that point, and had low matching scores to confirm it. so maybe this will stay up, after all.

    and perhaps suggest a new direction for Edmunds to steer a little disk space. after all, Click and Clack are listing mechanics that listeners/readers recommend in their spaces, there is no AAA review of capabilities, etc.

    as to searches here... there is a "search by keyword" box to the left of these screens in forums... and one at the very bottom of the main Edmunds home page. works really nicely, and there usually IS matching content. if your browser supports "open in new tab" like the Mozilla family, you can right-click "open in new tab" any link and take pleasant side diversions without losing your main train of search.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    Be careful using any of those searches.
    We were going to setup a similar search, but the problem that you run into, all of those searches will favor their "member's" shops.
    Some of them will try and say they are non-biase and all, but come on, you gonna tell me that the shops that pay aren't going to get preferance?

    We don't have a search like that for that very reason. We may eventually have something like that, but we won't vouch for any shop that will be listed.

    I like a few of those listings comments.
    [quote]a humongous database of over 16,000 great mechanics, recommended by -- and for[endquote]
    Ha ha, wow! That many. Impressive. LOL!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Opatience is right, this is tricky ground.

    Not only do you not have any idea of the motives or judgment skills of the person making the recommendation, but you have no idea of the consistency of the shop being recommended, or how dated the information is.

    Your best bet for evaluating a shop is asking around among your friends, or even looking at those "Ten Best in Whackashaw County" articles in your local newspaper. Or finding out which shops are family run and have been in business 25 years. But trusting your car to what some stranger says on an Internet site of highly questionable credulity to begin with seems a bit reckless to me.

    I'll give you another caveat. Most people on those boards are shopping "price". You have no idea no long or how well their repairs hold up. They don't come back and retract their statements.

    I have a small, great list of repair shops that I recommend to friends, and I'll tell you two interesting things that happen when I refer people to these absolutely trustworthy, highly skilled, friendly shops.

    1. Most people don't go to them, they don't take my advice.

    2. My list contains some of the most expensive shops in the area.

    So what does that tell you? People bite on price, often to their regret.
  • malachy72malachy72 Member Posts: 325
    wants to flame the service he's received, I see no reason he shouldn't do it. Can he do it right here?

    On the other hand, I have always recommended asking a local independent auto parts guy to point you towards a good mechanic.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    another is to ask the local car nuts who they have their (sister, mother, brother-in-law) go to when they are too darn busy to mess with their issues.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Using this or any other forum in an attempt to slander a business is not right.

    It's entirely possible that what they say is true. They may have been cheated, overcharged or ran into a lousy mechanic.

    Or, they could be someone upset because they had to pay a fair charge to have their poorly maintained junker fixed properly.

    Or they could be a chronic whiner or a recently discharged employee of the slandered shop.

    Or even a competitor down the street!

    I recently reccommended a great shop to a friend. They took my advise but whined that the shop charged them an hour's labor to diagnose a high speed miss that the local "mass merchant" couldn't find. The car now runs great but my friend probably won't go back to that shop!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    why I suppose don't more techs work to find the tough dog problems, instead of scratching "not confirmed" on the service order?

    there ARE some folks who just wouldn't be happy even if you hung 'em with a NEW rope. guess your friend is one.

    I work in technical fields requiring a lot of work and field help in diagnosing and fixing trouble... these days, it's on half-million dollar data switches and trunks up to OC12 speed. I can't get worked up over a diagnosis fee on a tough dog when I have had issues that take a month to resolve, or result in an international recall of control modules.

    some folks need to get real, nobody fixes things for free.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    people have absolutely no idea what is being done to their cars when they are in for service, so it is human nature they will shop the one thing they can quantify: price.

    If you are ignorant about mechanics, how can you recommend the shop you went to, even if the repairs went perfectly? You would have no way to know that the Pep Boys down the street couldn't have done the same repair just as well (...with their working-on-their-GED, slamming an old Honda Civic in my garage, teenage employees), and you might even feel ripped off if you found out after the fact that they would have done it cheaper.

    People don't appreciate that it is not always like "assemble using instructions"...sometimes there are right ways and wrong(/cheap/quick) ways to do the same job, that might have repercussions down the line.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • scottdudescottdude Member Posts: 177
    ...and wish that Edmund's would consider setting up a spot where people could discuss specific repair shops, good and bad. And Mr_Shiftwright, as host, I ask that you reconsider your opinion for one big reason: look at all the other discussions about buying cars here at Edmund's and you'll see a ton of real world stories about good and bad salespeople and dealers. I think most people find these comments very helpful, so why not add in the opportunity to discuss the one place many people will spend the most time at... repair shops?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    Folks, before you go off on a tangent about something like that, one thing that you may want to consider and will weigh heavily on whethere Edmunds even entertains an idea like that.
    This would be the fact that they would have to verify the information. I can tell you from experience that trying to verify information is alot of work. Try verifying 800+ mechanics sometime.
    And to be honest, the legalities of something like that would be a tough deal to get by.
    Besides, there are plenty of times that I have seen folks here complain about a shop and I had to side with the shop.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Edmunds would never allow such a thing and I am 100% behind them because of all the potential abuse. It's just an invitation for slander and legal problems, and really serves no useful purpose.

    This is what the Better Business Bureau was set up for. The BBB is supported by business money so that the good businesses can root out the bad ones. The BBB keeps a file on gross offenders and you can call up and ask them (in general terms) what's in a certain business's file.

    Any post that accuses a specifically named business of illegal activity would no doubt be deleted here, since, as was said, we have no way of verifying such information.

    As a private entity, Edmunds certainly has the right to do that.

    Sometimes even words of praise are deleted if the poster's motives are suspicious (soliciting for their own businesses while "in disguise" on Edmund's).
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the AAA, for one. if you are thinking about using Wrenches R Pus, you can check them with the BBB and see if there are any negatives. not saying that puts WRP in the clear, but if they have a habit of replacing transmissions with junkyard pulls when all you brought the car in for is an oil change, sooner or later the BBB will be informed.

    A-Car or NIASE certs can tell you that A tech has passed an exam on some level of familiarity with X system. doesn't mean they are shrewd diagnosticians for tough dogs, but at worst they can recognize the names of parts. in that case, if Billy Bob Bubba is the only one with BRAKES on his cert list, make sure Billy Bob Bubba is the one doing your brake job, not cousin Jeb.

    frequent contributor alcan instructs apprentices. passing a successful apprenticeship is also a way to recognize that a tech at least can find their way around the garage and generally around cars. again, ONE trained tech does not mean ALL techs know which end of a cutting torch is the handle. I would get close to the flat statement that "apprenticeship is a certain way to get trained techs that have very small chances of botching the work," but experience has shown me that you can sneak a skunk through any program once.

    in the end, if somebody says, "don't use WRP, they hosed me good," ask 'em why and how. in a case where your referrer caused problems, you might smell that from the story, and maybe WRP is not altogether evil.

    Having seen the several comments about the wonderful breeding grounds for lawyers in the process of doing blind referrals, I guess I won't expect any such info on Edmunds any time soon. at its base, is a business providing services, and part of that is refereed editorial content and advertising. they have to try and keep their noses clean or they don't eat. I can understand that issue and have no fight with it.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Years ago if you called them you could get info on the complaint, what it was, resolved etc.etc.

    Now, due to the fear of litigation the BBS gives you no informatiuon. Basically, complaint was filed and complaint resolved. Who cares to know that?

    I want details and they no longer provide any useful info and just provide a form to complete which they send to the company that created the complaint for resolution. Perhaps you stated it correctly when you said "FUNDED BY THE COMPANIES" that are members. Think they are going to alienate a member?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    BBB is a "self-policing" enterprise that's true. They are really concerned with member business practices, not with automotive matters. They probably don't know much about cars so can't really referee technical disputes.

    I think people don't understand what the BBB is policing. It's how the business is transacted, or advertised, etc. not the product that concerns them. They have no labs or testers or investigators, etc. They have no way of knowing if dealer A fixed your car properly.
  • jdmortonjdmorton Member Posts: 24
    , as some of you have already pointed out, the person you give the recommendation to may have different criteria than you do as to what constitutes "good". I don't perform any maintenance myself on any of my vehicles; I've always relied on my mechanic and car dealership. I've used the same mechanic for about 15 years now, and some of my neighbors think he rips them off. When I ask them why, I get one of two answers - "They cost too much" or "They said I needed to have work done that I didn't ask for". Since I know my neighbors fairly well, I know which ones work on their cars and which ones don't. I'll let you guess which ones complain about the mechanic.

    I had my van in about a month ago, to have the oil changed and tires rotated. The van was just about 3 years old and I had put over 40,000 miles on it. Sure enough, I get a call from my mechanic that my front brakes will need replacing in the next few thousand miles. I asked if I could make it to my next oil change; he says probably, but I'd be cutting it close on the pads. I told him to go ahead and change them. From experience, I know that once I get beyond 35,000 miles and/or 2 to 2-1/2 years between brake jobs, I normally need to get new brakes.

    When I went to pick up the car, I had a chat with one of the owners manning the desk. As we were talking, he said "You did ask us to give your van the once over while we were changing the oil, didn't you?" I said I always ask for that. He said that a number of customers were getting upset if his shop spotted other maintenance items that should be done while performing the requested work and he called them to ask if they wanted it done, so he now specifically asks the customer if they want the vehicle checked out. If they don't, he doesn't, UNLESS it is clearly a safety issue that violates Pennsylvania's safety inspection requirements (like bald tires). Then he tells them about it anyway. By the way, my mechanic has always performed this check for free. He's always called me about any additional work, and I make the decision to have it done then or wait.

    For me, I want a qualified mechanic to look at my car. I don't have the facilities, knowledge, skill, tools, or experience to check out my own vehicle (except, of course, whenever something is wrong). I want my mechanic to check the brakes when he pulls the wheels off to rotate them. I want him to tell me that he sees an oil leak or radiator fluid some place where its not supposed to be. I want him to tell me that my shocks are bad, or that there are pinhole leaks in the muffler and I had better think about getting it replaced before my car sounds like a 747 taking off.

    After all, I can always tell him "no thanks".
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    there is always needed work and wanted work... and if the tech is identifying which is which, you have a good start. most services go sour slowly on a car, and you get used to the changes. it's always a good idea to have the once-over check done IMHO, assuming you are told the difference between NEEDED and WANTED.
This discussion has been closed.