BBB column: How to get your vehicle past 100K miles |

BBB column: How to get your vehicle past 100K miles

It’s no longer unusual for consumers and business owners to hold onto vehicles well past 100,000 miles. In fact, many keep their vehicles even when the odometers go beyond 200,000 or 300,000 miles.

Key to such longevity are owners who take the time to research auto repair shops in their areas. So far in 2013, the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming has received more than 19,000 inquiries for auto repair services, making this sector the third most-inquired-about business category.

The BBB has also received 43 complaints for the industry since the first of the year. This compares to 26,086 total inquiries and 61 complaints in 2012.

You don’t need a crash course in auto repair and maintenance to find a reliable shop and mechanic, however. What you do need to do is follow these guidelines from your BBB and the National Institute for Automotive Excellence:

• Become familiar with your car and local auto servicers. Read your owner’s manual to learn about your vehicle and follow the manufacturer’s suggested service schedule. Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.

• Ask around. Always check out the mechanic and auto body shop’s BBB Business Review at before doing business. Ask friends and associates for recommendations; even in this high-tech era, old-fashioned word of mouth reputation is valuable.

• Scope it out. Look for a neat, well-organized facility with modern equipment in the service bays and vehicles of equal value to your own in the parking lot. Because some shops specialize, ask if they customarily handle your vehicle make and model. Trustworthy establishments will have a courteous, helpful staff. The service writer should be willing to answer all of your questions.

• Before authorizing repairs, get a written estimate for parts and labor. Tell the shop to get your permission before making additional repairs. Ensure you receive notification by having the service manager write a request on the bottom of the repair order. Give phone numbers where you can be reached and, before you leave, be sure to understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.

• Get everything in writing. When you pick up your vehicle, get an explanation of all work completed and get all guarantees in writing. Ask that any major new parts that have been installed be pointed out to you. Your repair bill should be itemized so that if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by the guarantee. Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Some facilities specialize.

For reliable consumer tips and information, visit or call (970) 484-1348 or 1-800-564-0371.

Luanne Kadlub is a communications editor for the Better Business Bureau.

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