Are you intimidated to go into an auto service shop? If you are, there’s a good chance that intimidation stems from the fact that you aren’t hip to the lingo that they use. What’s more, you’ll probably be a bit stumped when it comes to understanding the contract they will ask you to sign. That can add up to a pretty intimidating experience indeed. But the truth of the matter is this: If you own a car, sooner or later you’re going to need to send it in for service. To make the experience go more smoothly, it’s important to understand he contract that you’ll be asked to sign, so you really know what you are consenting to.

Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure you understand the following things. Ask yourself these questions and consider the answers carefully.


What are the terms and conditions of the contract?

This goes beyond simply looking at the list of services to be rendered and the expected price. Look for information about whether the work is guaranteed, what the warranty policy is, how many hours of labour are expected, etc. If anything is not clearly outlined in the contract, have the shop revise it. Everything should be clearly outlined before you sign the contract so there is no room for dispute.

How long will the job take?

The contract should also outline when you can expect to have your vehicle back. Although things can crop up to delay the repairs (delays in parts delivery, for example) an auto service shop like should always do whatever they can to ensure that your vehicle is returned to you by the date they specify.

Do they offer shuttle service?

If they are going to be keeping your car for the day or longer, the shop should offer you a shuttle service to get you back home or to work. Better yet, some shops will offer you a rental vehicle to use while yours is in the shop. Check with your auto insurance – sometimes the cost of these rentals are often covered under your auto insurance policy.

Who exactly will be performing the repairs?

It’s not enough to know which company will be working your vehicle. Find out exactly which person will be doing the work. That way, you know to whom you should be directing any questions or issues you have about the work.

Is the shop reputable?

Finally, one of the most important considerations before signing an auto repair contract isn’t on the contract at all. Before you sign, it’s important to have an understanding of the company’s reputation.  Have they been in business for a while? Do they have an established good reputation? Have any of your friends deal with them before, and would they recommend their services to you? All of this information is very important to consider before you agree to let anyone work on your vehicle.