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What You Must Know About Getting a European Auto Repair Estimate


Uh oh! You walked to the car this morning on your way to work and saw a pink, blue, or green fluid underneath. You know it’s time to go to the repair shop. What should you expect from the process? What’s expected of you?

When you’re looking for a repair facility for your European vehicle, there are a few things you should consider.

To ensure that your vehicle is in competent hands, the technicians should be ASE certified. ASE is a nationally recognized standard of automotive competency above and beyond any state requirements. Some states don’t have any certification requirements. In those states, ASE certification is especially important. At ArborMotion, all our technicians are ASE certified, and 3 have ASE Master Technician certifications. These certifications should be visibly posted.  

A reputable repair facility will also have a warranty on parts and labor. We provide a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty on parts and labor. Some shops also provide shuttle service, loaner cars, or subsidized rental car rates. We provide all these services. When choosing a repair facility, referrals from family, friends, co-workers, or online reviews can also help you.

While driving your European car isn’t that different from an American car, repairing one can be very different! Technicians who specialize in your brand of vehicle have received special training on the specifics of your car’s make and will provide the level of care your vehicle deserves. For example, a domestic vehicle technician may not have the experience to know that when a water repellent is applied to your windshield, it could cause the windshield washer fluid light to turn on in some imported vehicles.

What Should Be Included in Your Estimate?

Once you have found a suitable shop candidate you can look into their estimate process. There are several things any vehicle repair estimate should always include, such as a breakdown of the whole repair by parts and labor.

Labor – make sure the cost and the number of hours it will take to complete the repair are included.

Parts – If any parts are rebuilt or remanufactured, those should be mentioned in your estimate. You should be informed if there’s a warranty on those parts and if it’s different from the general warranty. If you don’t see a warranty on rebuilt or remanufactured parts, always ask for it and get it in writing.

Other fees – These include shop supplies, storage fees, waste or tire disposal, and sublet fees. In some states, all charges need to be itemized, while in other states, an estimate based on labor is acceptable. If you don’t see any miscellaneous charges or itemized use of shop supplies, you should ask if any will be assessed. Some routine services are billed on a flat rate and don’t get broken down into parts and labor, such as oil changes. You should still see a charge for these services on your estimate.

Customer signature – In some states a signature, either physical or digital, is required at check in and again at check out. In other states, only one signature is required. Any reputable shop will provide you with a written or digital estimate. If not, you should consider having repairs done at another repair facility.

Congratulations! You have chosen a reputable repair facility with ASE certified technicians and now the repair process can begin!

European Auto Repair in Ann Arbor: What is the Process?

The first part of the process is check-in. A service adviser will ask what you’re experiencing. You may be asked some questions that seem unrelated to your problem, such as whether there is any unusual smell, or whether you’ve noticed any warning lights, how the heat has been working, any noises while turning, or how the brakes feel.

This is where you’ll be expected to report your observations to the service adviser as accurately as possible. You can expect to authorize the services being performed with a signature and receive a written or emailed estimate of those services.

Unless you add other services, most likely you’ll be approving inspection time to discover what the problems with your vehicle may be. You can also expect an estimated time to receive the inspection results. Often shops that specialize in European auto repair will charge an inspection fee separate from the repair. Less often, the inspection time will be included in the cost of the repair.

The Technician Has Inspected Your Car. What Now?

The technician has finished his inspection and has recommended a repair. You’ve received an email with the results. For example, if you’re looking at a photo of some hoses with the technician’s notes when you receive a call from your service adviser, who tells you that the radiator hose you’re looking at is leaking and that that’s the blue fluid that you saw under your car. The service adviser also tells you that during the inspection time the technician observed the active leak and pressure tested the coolant system to see if there are any more leaks. He didn’t find any at this time and is recommending replacing the leaking hose. You can see the cost to replace the hose on your email.

Email Results – You’ll receive an email that may contain photos or video of your inspection results. We’ll also call you to explain those results!

Visual Inspection – If there are other recommendations for repairs, your service adviser will explain those recommendations and advise you on the urgency of those repairs. A reputable shop will not proceed with any repairs without your approval. This is the time for you to decide which, if any, repairs you’ll authorize. We’ll also give you a time estimate in which any repairs you approve will be completed.

Authorization of repairs – You can decide which repairs you’d like to complete over the phone with your service adviser or you can use the online link to approve or decline repairs. This is perfect for when you can’t take a call but are able to get online. With our software, you can also post notes or questions to your service adviser or technician. We’ll be notified by an automated email that you made a change to the estimate and we’ll be able to view those changes. If you’ve decided to replace the radiator hose, we’ll order the parts and begin the work as soon as the part arrives and the technician is available.

One thing that can be very different in a European vehicle versus a domestic vehicle is the availability of parts. Sometimes a part will not be available from sources in the United States and will have to be ordered and shipped to us. This does not happen often but you should be aware that if you’re informed that your repair will take a longer time than usual, it’s often because a part will be coming from outside the United States.

Repair – Once you have authorized repairs, and the parts have arrived, the technician can begin the work on your car. The technician or a quality control person may take the vehicle for an extended test drive.

Repair Finished – The next call you’ll receive from us will be the call letting you know the repairs are finished. If you need a shuttle to pick up your car, it can be arranged at this time. Once you arrive to pick up your vehicle, we’ll bring your car into the main service aisle with a fresh hand wash.

ArborMotion – The Best European Auto Repair in Ann Arbor!

Congratulations! You found a reputable European auto repair facility by checking for ASE certification, making sure the shop specializes in your European make, finding out the warranty available, and ensuring the estimate process was transparent and itemized. During this process, you discovered that not all shops are the same and finding a good fit for you and your vehicle wasn’t as difficult as it seemed. You had a positive repair experience! Happy Motoring!

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