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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Do you wonder if you’re being taken for a ride every time you have your car serviced by a mechanic? After all, it’s not always easy determine the best auto repair shops from the worst. So 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan teamed up with the researchers at Consumers’ Checkbook Magazine so you can find quality help for under your hood.

When it comes to auto repairs, most mechanics aren’t created equal. “We rated 451 shops at Checkbook.org and found dramatic differences in these shops in terms of how good a job they do on these people’s cars,” says Robert Krughoff, President of Delaware Valley Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit magazine dedicated to helping consumers find high quality, reasonably priced services.

Recently Consumers’ Checkbook asked their subscribers to evaluate their local auto repair shops. Among the questions asked of them says Krughoff, “Did they get it right on the first try so that the car was working right as soon as you got it back? Did they let you know what the cost would be in advance? Did they tell you what your options are?

Common complaints about auto mechanics include incorrect estimates, work not being done right, and shops performing unauthorized work. Checkbook also compared prices for some common repairs and found they could vary widely. For example the cost to replace the front brake pads and rotors on a 2004 Dodge Stratus ranged from $252 to $610.

Krughoff says, “It is strikingly true in the auto repair field that price has nothing to do with the quality of work to be done.” About ten percent of the shops surveyed received top ratings for quality and price. “Checkbook found and has consistently found that independent repair shops score better than dealers in terms of doing the job properly,” says Krughoff.

“We are confident in our pricing and our repair abilities, says Scott McKittrick. He’s the owner and operator of Bob Adams Auto Service in Lansdale, a shop that received Checkbooks’ top rating for quality and price. “We’re an old-style neighborhood shop, we have upgraded and updated obviously but we’re still part of the neighborhood and the community,” says McKittrick.

Checkbook suggests that you speak directly to the repair technician who will be working on your car and that you get either a written estimate in advance or write on the repair ticket that no work is to be done without your approval.

If you’ve been looking for a quality auto mechanic in your neighborhood and haven’t been successful, or if you want to see how your auto repair shop scored, 3 On Your Side wants to help.

CBS 3 viewers will have exclusive FREE access to look at the full results of Checkbook’s survey online, that’s 451 auto repairs shops, organized by county, up until Sunday, November 27.

 Just visit this link: http://www.checkbook.org/cbs3/autorepair/ and click “Go to Ratings of 451 Delaware Valley Area Auto Repair Shops”

Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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