Money Wise--Putting the Car Repair Nightmare to Rest - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/11/03

Money Wise--Putting the Car Repair Nightmare to Rest

If you've ever had a problem with your car, you know what a nightmare it can be. And even worse is when you take it to someone you think you can trust, only to find out you can't. Leaving your car in someone else's hands can be a big gamble. It can be such a horrible situation. Well, it doesn't have to be so bad, if you know how to look for the right mechanic.

Finding a mechanic you can trust can be a task. One way to steer yourself in the right direction is to look for a Triple A sign.

"We have several contractors out there that are approved repair facilities, and we but them through some pretty stringent qualifications before we allow them to become an approved facility for us," AAA branch manager Ken Kincaid said.

There are three located in the Savannah area. One is Coastal Transmission, the only AAA-certified transmission repair facility in the state.

"They inspect our facility, they make sure we have the right equipment, that our technicians are certified," said owner Richard Barrow. "They make sure we have an approved hazmat program, that our insurance is in place, and also, they even go as far as checking your banking relations."

Barrow says all the AAA guidelines are worth it, mainly because displaying the AAA sign brings him more business.

Coastal Transmission works on transmissions only. For AAA full-service car repair facilities, there are just two in this area. One is Williams Auto Repair, located on Augusta Road in Garden City. The other is Automotive Services of Savannah, located just off Highway 17 on Gamble Road. Something else AAA does to make sure customers are satisfied: they call customers randomly who took their cars to any of the the three places.

Barrow says he doesn't mind because it keeps the his business on its toes and keeps customers satisfied. 'We've been here for 28 years, and being a AAA member just adds to that credibility," he said. "And we're real proud to be a part of their organization."

Keep this in mind. There are good mechanics out there that don't have the AAA seal of approval. So, if you're pleased with your mechanic, stick with him. But if you're looking for a mechanic, keep this in mind. The best time to find a good one is when you don't need one. This way you have time to do a little bit of research. And also, always ask for a written estimate before the work is done.

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, bdenmark@wtoc.com

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