How Auto Repair Estimates Work
Have you ever noticed that your brakes are making a strange sound? Whether your brakes start acting up out of the blue or you were recently in an accident, taking your car in for a non-routine repair can be stressful.
If you’re like most car owners, your car is your main mode of transportation. You rely on it to get to work and to run errands. Combine that with the unexpected cost of car repair, and it’s easy to see why many drivers are overwhelmed by the process.
Minimize the Stress by Knowing Exactly What to Expect
At Virginia Tire & Auto, we strive to make the process of diagnosing and repairing your car as painless as possible, so you can get back on the road and back to your life. Jonathan Jacobs, a Sales Manager at our Chantilly location, has been making this happen for Virginia Tire & Auto customers for five years. A big part of his job is to translate a mechanic’s technical assessment and estimate for repair to the customer.
Customers are sometimes worried that a repair shop will take advantage of them by overcharging for parts or services, or suggesting repairs that aren’t actually needed.
“In the auto repair industry, a customer will sometimes question a business’s integrity,” Jacobs explains.
As an expert in communicating, he makes sure that every customer at his shop feels comfortable with the diagnosis and estimate.
What If You Have Been in an Accident?
If you are in an accident and your car needs cosmetic repairs, you should get those taken care of first. Virginia Tire & Auto will complete repairs for the internal functions of your car. For any work on the body of the car, you should go to an auto body shop.
Step One: Diagnosis
Once your car comes into our shop, we’ll assign a mechanic to examine and diagnose the problem with your car. If it’s something simple, it may be as easy as pulling the car in, racking it up in the air and doing a quick check. If it’s something less straightforward, like an odd sound that only occurs sporadically while driving, we might have you drive the car with the technician so that they can hear what’s going on.
Step Two: Written Estimate
We always give customers a typed and printed estimate for the repairs needed. You should be suspicious of any repair shop that doesn’t give you a written estimate. This allows you to have the full picture of the problem in writing so you know you are on the same page as the repair shop.
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s called an estimate, and occasionally, once the mechanic gets into doing the repair, another problem reveals itself that must be fixed. If this happens, a good repair shop will call you before completing the repair and explain what’s going on and how it will affect the total cost of the repair.
Step Three: Repairs
After receiving a written estimate, you don’t have to choose to get the work done immediately. If you do choose to have work done, we’ll provide you with a loaner car or shuttle service, depending on your needs (repairs over $200 will come with a free loaner car). We’ll also give you an estimate for how long the repair will take, which depends in part on the labor, but also on whether parts need to be ordered and shipped.
How Long Does it Take for Parts to Arrive?
If a part needs to be ordered, it can take anywhere from one to five days for it to arrive. If a part is coming from a nearby warehouse, it might just be a day. In the event that it needs to be shipped from across the country, it could take three to five days.
Regular Maintenance is the Best Prevention
Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough that you’ll never have to take your car in for a non-routine repair. You can greatly increase the chances of that being the case by consistently taking your car in for routine maintenance.
If something unexpected does come up, you can bring your car to any of our Virginia Tire & Auto locations in Northern Virginia and know exactly what to expect.