Auto service myths: Charlotte expert reveals the facts

Auto service myths: Charlotte expert reveals the facts

Dutch Silverstein, owner
A & M AutoService LLC, Pineville, N.C.

Founded in 1996, Silverstein says A & M AutoService LLC seeks to do business with a sense of honor and fair play. “It means doing what’s best for the customer, even if that means sometimes sacrificing short-term profitability in favor of establishing a long-term relationship,” he says. It received the Super Service Award in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

What are some common myths about auto service?

Dutch Silverstein: "One of the most common is that there is some "magic box" that you can plug into your car to determine what is wrong with it. Today's automobiles are incredibly complex pieces of machinery with multiple onboard computers and literally miles of electric wiring.

"The knowledge and experience of the seasoned repair technician cannot, and should not, be readily dismissed.

"Another myth is that all dealership mechanics are factory trained and that they alone know what is best for your car. An independent repair facility can perform most, if not all, of the work of a dealership at less cost, with the exception of free warranty work and recalls.

"Bringing your car to a repair facility other than a dealership will not void your warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 specifically prohibits new car dealers from implying or denying warranty service because routine maintenance was performed at an independent repair facility.

"Be proactive with preventive maintenance. You wouldn't board an aircraft if you knew the airline waited for something to break before they fixed it. A car "tuneup" is really a thing of the past. Modern cars do not have ignition points, condenser or spark plugs that require replacement every 12,000 miles.

"One misconception is that a simple code reader used by a "big box" auto parts store employee, whose focus is on selling parts, can accurately diagnose a car's problem. It's analogous to taking your blood work to your cousin Earl for evaluation because he took an advanced first aid course in high school.

"When looking for a auto service provider, get recommendations from friends and family. Do your homework. Check out a potential shop with the Better Business Bureau, Angie's List and other sources of impartial information.

"Ask a potential shop about references, lengths of warranties, how many years they've been in business, employee turnover, etc.

"People approach auto service with a degree of trepidation usually reserved for root canals because of another myth out there - that all car repair facilities are out to rob their customers blind. This is simply not true. Service facilities live and die on repeat business.

"It's in a repair shop's long-term best interest to treat each customer honestly. Are there dishonest people in the auto repair business? Absolutely, just like any other type of business. Fortunately, those people are in the minority and usually don't last long."

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