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Few people enjoy taking their car to a garage. Fewer still enjoy it when they know they're car needs extensive, expensive repairs. A new survey from AutoMD suggests that women hate it so much, they'd rather go to the dentist.
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The survey was conducted in March and April of this year, with more than 2,400 online respondents answering questions about their service and repair practices. Here are a few of the survey's most important takeaways:
Very few people trust their mechanics...
On the whole, 83 percent of those surveyed believed that they'd been overcharged for repairs.
...but opinions are slowly changing.
Back in 2010, 88 percent of respondents thought that they'd been overcharged at the repair shop. In 2012, that figure had fallen to 85 percent.
The web makes things better.
Part of the reason for improving opinions of repair shops seems to be the increasing availability of online reviews. On average 73 percent of women read others' opinions about mechanics before taking their car in for repairs. Roughly 64 percent of men did the same.
Still, consumers find the process really opaque.
A whopping 86 percent of survey respondents said that the repair experience ought to be more transparent. Another 8 percent said that repairs needed to be carried out faster, and 6 percent wanted better customer service.
Women really hate repair shops (but so do men).
When asked to rank five activities from most- to least-pleasant -- taking a car in for repairs, buying a car, going to the dentist, shopping for airline tickets online, or shopping for books and music online -- women said that going in for repairs was the least pleasant of all. Men ranked having their car repaired only slightly more pleasant than going to the dentist. (Then again, given the five options, that may not be surprising: who really hates shopping for e-books?)
This isn't a definitive survey. The sample size is passable, but some of the questions seem loaded, or at least poorly phrased.
But even with those flaws, the study appears to confirm two things we know:
The repair process is unpleasant because customers feel uninformed.
It doesn't matter if you're going to a garage or a gastroenterologist, you're almost always walking into a situation in which you are less informed than the person you're paying to help you. The better that person is at communicating with you, explaining the problem and how she/he is going to fix it, the more comfortable you're likely to feel with the entire process.
The web is giving more consumers the tools they need to feel informed.
Even though you may not fully understand what's wrong with your vehicle, a growing number of websites can suggest where you're likely to get the best service. That, in turn, can give you confidence that repairs are likely to be fully explained and fairly priced. Hopefully, this will have an effect on less-transparent shops and encourage them to open up about their process.
How do you feel about going for car repairs? Is it worse than going to the dentist? (If so, do you have exceptionally good teeth?) Sound off in the comments below.