Selecting an Auto Repair Shop

Many American drivers are choosing to keep their car longer rather than invest in a new one. This can be a smart move, provided the vehicle is serviced regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. AAA believes the best way to maintain an automobile is to choose a quality full-service repair shop and let them do all of the needed work. A shop that is familiar with its customers and their vehicles can help prevent breakdowns, and often saves motorists money, by identifying potential problems in advance and making a small repair sooner rather than a big one later. So, how do you find a reliable repair shop?

Look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) sign  

The AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program was created more than 35 years ago, and today includes more than 7,100 facilities across North America. The program is made up of dealers, independents and specialty repair shops. The AAR program initially certified only general mechanical repair businesses, but now many AAA clubs also approve collision repair centers (Approved Auto Body), specialty auto repair (Service) facilities, and auto glass businesses (Approved Auto Glass).

The AAR approval process is tough. When a shop applies, a service specialist inspects the facility for cleanliness, proper tools, adequate technical training, and appropriate technician certifications. AAA also checks the facility’s reputation with government and consumer agencies, and performs insurance and financial background checks. A significant number of facility customers are then surveyed to obtain their opinions on how well the business meets their automotive service needs. After approval, AAR shops are visited quarterly, re-inspected annually and monitored for customer satisfaction to ensure ongoing compliance with AAA standards. To find a nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, visit

AAA members who choose to use an AAR shop receive the following benefits:

  • Priority service when their car is towed in due to a breakdown
  • Written estimates not to be exceeded by more than 10% without prior approval
  • A 24-month/24,000-mile warranty (whichever comes first) on parts and labor under normal operating conditions
  • A discount on retail price repairs
  • A free maintenance inspection with other paid repairs (mechanical shops only)
  • The return of replaced parts if requested in advance
  • AAA assistance in resolving any repair disputes with the facility.

While non-members do not receive all of the benefits AAA members are entitled to, the general motoring public does profit from the knowledge that a repair shop displaying the AAR sign has met AAA’s tough standards and can be counted on to do a good job. However, AAA has not evaluated every auto repair facility, and AAR shops are not the only businesses capable of providing quality auto repairs.