How do I get my car repaired?

If you have a vehicle, commuting in and around Calgary can be faster and easier than other forms of transportation. Unfortunately, some wear and tear to your car is inevitable when a vehicle is so frequently driven.  Also, sometimes damage happens due to bad weather or driver accidents. As a result, you may need to visit a car repair shop from time to time.

How do I get my car repaired?

Here are some common issues drivers visit car repair shops to fix.

In the winter
  • Thickening fluids
  • Dead battery
  • Frozen fuel line
  • Wipe failure
  • Tire Pressures
  • Leakages due to metal corrosion or breakages
  • Hail damage
In the summer
  • Overheating
  • Under-performing air conditioner
  • Flat tire
  • Dying or bad batteries due to extreme heat
General
  • Transmission (gear box and clutch systems) problem
  • Broken wind screen
  • Collision damage

An important protection against financial liability in case of collision is motor vehicle insurance.  Also, knowing the simple mechanical parts of your vehicle will put you in a better position when you communicate with anyone about repairing your car.

All Alberta repair businesses must legally be licensed by Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry council (AMVIC). This includes:

  • body shops
  • inspection facilities
  • brake and muffler shops
  • car starter installers
  • windshield tint and repair shops

Before getting into a repair contract with a car repair shop, you should check if the business you are dealing with is AMVIC licensed. To do that you can use the following link:

https://portal.amvic.org/Pages/en_US/Forms/Public/Register/Default.aspx

You can also ask friends and family for recommendations. It helps to compare the cost of repairs between shops and be aware of the rights that pertain to car repair work in Alberta.

First Appointment Expectations

After choosing a licensed repair shop, make an appointment to drop off your car at the repair shop. When at the repair shop for the first time, a motor repair shop should do the following:

  1. Get your consent before using rebuilt or salvage parts.
  2. Get your consent before subcontracting repair work.
  3. Offer to return parts removed from the vehicle.
  4. Provide, in writing, information on the parts installed including if they are original equipment manufacturer’s parts or from another source and whether they are new, used, or reconditioned.
  5. Represent that they have the ability to perform a specific service. Meaning, they must have the equipment, tools, and expertise necessary to complete the work.
  6. Get your written consent for any work that does not conform or exceed manufacturer standards if your vehicle is being rebuilt or restored.
Final Checklist

Before you hand over your keys to the car repair shop or mechanic, be sure to do the following:

  1.  Get a written estimate and all promises in writing. Remember, a business can only exceed the estimate by 10% to a maximum of $100. You must agree to additional service and added costs before the work is started.
  2. Make sure that you keep copies of all documents you are given.
  3. For larger repair jobs, it may be a good idea to compare prices among repair shops.
  4. Ask about manufacturer, supplier, or other warranty information and get all warranty documents in writing.
  5. Find out if additional fees and charges apply, and how much they cost.
  6. Ask questions if you are unsure or don’t understand what you’re agreeing to.
  7. After your car has been repaired, once again ask about manufacturer, supplier or other warranty information and get it in writing.

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Yaqub Adepoju for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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