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What's Your Favorite Repair Shop?

September 7, 2011

The other day, my neighbor, Kyle, needed to take his car to the shop because his engine was overheating. He asked me to come along so I could give him a ride home. I was also curious to see what shop he went to. I love the shop that I go to (Luscious Garage), but I haven’t really compared it to other shops in San Francisco, and I wanted to see why he picked the shop that he did.

So, off we went to Allied Engine and Auto Repair. When we pulled into the service bay, both the owner and his wife came out to greet Kyle, very warmly I might add. The owner (Paul) immediately popped the hood and stared poking around while Kyle and I lounged in the waiting area with Paul’s wife, Marianne. I then asked Kyle how and why he had picked this shop for his auto repairs.

Kyle told me that he used to live next door to the shop and whenever he would walk his dog, Marianne and Paul, being huge animal lovers, would come out and pet Archie. They were always very friendly, so when Kyle needed work done on his car, he took it to them, and has gone to them for years now.

While we were chatting, I was looking around the shop for signs that it was, in fact, a quality shop. The first thing I noticed, which may seem odd, was that the floors were immaculately clean. The shop is small, tiny really, and I would have expected it to feel grimy, but it didn’t. There were little details all over the shop indicating its history and its commitment to customer satisfaction. I saw the ASE certification, AAA, and other examples of a strong history of quality.

You can see the sign in the picture I took, but there was also an old, wooden door hanging in the shop. On it was written something like: From 1976 to 1989, 20,000 people walked through this door. During that time, two small claims court cases were filed, and we won both of them. Wow, I thought. That’s a commitment to customer satisfaction—only two court cases out of 20,000 customers, and they won both of them? That is some record!

Paul then beckoned us out to look at the car. We stood by the engine while Paul pressed on the gas and then we saw a burst of water coming out from the radiator, which had a crack in it. I have heard of cracked radiators before, but had never seen one. It was pretty cool to actually see a broken part. I never realized how fragile radiators actually are and it made total sense that it needed to be replaced.

There was also an issue with the clutch, so while Paul continued to work, Marianne, Kyle, and I went back into the office. She immediately got on the phone and started calling about parts. When I asked her if they used OEM parts, she said, “exclusively,” which is a great sign. I looked around the office and saw everything from books and research to pictures of customers’ dogs and cars. The whole place had a real mom and pop feel, which I really liked.

I spend much of my time writing and reading about shops and auto repair, but I don’t personally spend that much time in real life shops, which made this experience special. To spend time with the owners of a shop that’s been in business for 35 years is quite a treat. If I didn’t already love my mechanic, I would totally switch to Allied Engine and Auto Repair.

What is your favorite shop? Why do you love it so much? Do you recommend it to others?

About the Author

Natalie Josef is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

2 User Comments

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By , September 26, 2011
My favorite repair shop is FORT WAYNE NISSAN company. which is located in: Fort Wayne Nissan 4909 Lima Rd. Fort Wayne, IN 46808 With selling new Nissan and used vehicles like other dealerships,they also happy to offer many other auto services! Their Fort Wayne Nissan Auto Parts Store is loaded with items to even keep the old classic and cheap cars running in great shape! Even if you are not a do-it-yourself person and would like a professional maintenance done to your Nissan or vehicle, they have a certified team to help! Their Fort Wayne Car Service department has top trained, highly professional technicians keeping your Nissan or used car on Indiana roads for as long as possible! also, if you are in need for a quality car rental then you can choose to Fort Wayne Nissan to rent, For more Information you can also visit: http://www.fortwaynenissan.com.
By , September 27, 2011
MY FAVORITE REPAIR SHOP IS' MOBILE OVAl' casselberry florida. mryon is a diesel specialist with over 20 years of dealer trained experience. he is much more reasonable than any dealer that i know and his work is as good if not better. if you own a diesel truck or car give him a shout. he did a ton of work for me and it worked out great thank you bob