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It’s a rare motorist who doesn’t have strong feelings about today’s sport utility vehicles. Love ’em or hate ’em, one thing is certain-just like their automobile cousins, SUVs last longer, operate more efficiently, and command a higher resale value when they are properly maintained and serviced.

For those too busy or too overwhelmed by modern vehicles to perform their own maintenance, the pros at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offer some advice on choosing a repair establishment:

  • Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.
  • Ask friends and associates for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations.
  • Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.
  • Look for a neat, well organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
  • Look for a courteous staff, with a service writer willing to answer all of your questions.
  • Look for posted policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc.
  • Ask if the repair facility usually handles your type of repair work.
  • Start off with a minor job and progress to more complex work if you are pleased with the establishment.
  • Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards.
  • Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification of the technicians by ASE.