Giving credit when credit is due

Many of us–including me–are in the habit of telling people to avoid chain-operated and franchised car repair establishments. However, when one of those places does something good, I think that it is important to recognize that situation.

I have no idea about the competency of the mechanics at this particular Midas location, but the owner has come to the aid of a long-term, disabled customer, and put the man’s old mini-van back on the road–gratis.

Thanks, VDC. Nice to be reminded there are good people around, even at Midas. :wink:

Good stuff.

I have a chain shop near me (one of the “brake/muffler” places) that I will use quite a bit. That’s because it really operates like like any small, independent place. The staff is very stable and has been for many years. They are incredibly honest and bend over backwards to help out their customers, and operate like they are part of a community of humans. They do just specialize in basic r&r type work - not really a high end/high tech diagnostics kind of a place. But for the basics I would send anyone there.

But that’s the thing about many of these chain operations. They are franchised so they often are locally owned. They will have constraints on them due to their relations with he corporate umbrella. But, of course, as we know, the rule to avoid them is just a rule of thumb. They have to be taken on a case by case basis like all other shops.

I always advise against chain shops, franchised car repair establishments and dealerships as well. I know that there are good people at all of those places and sometimes you will find a good mechanic. The reason that I give this advice is because the “numbers” are against them. It’s nothing personal. They can change and get better but the big question is…will they? Only time will tell.

Seeing all the complaints people bring here about the difficulty of getting their cars properly diagnosed and fixed makes me even more grateful for the “good guys” that are out there.

I just found a new indie mechanic for my CRV. He’s Honda trained, knew exactly what to look for when he put my CRV on the lift, and only charged me $50 to replace a rear sway bar link (I supplied the part) and rotate and rebalance the tires. My new best friend. :wink:

Chain stores are where newbies start learning their trade. They need a shop foreman to make sure everything is done right, and act as a teacher for the young staff. I take my cars to an infamous lube chain store. But they do a good job for me on oil changes so I keep going back. The workers display ASE certifications on a board in the waiting area. That shows me this franchise encourages growth in their staff, even though it means they will lose them to a higher paying job.

Good on him. No place is always good or always bad. There are marvelous mechanics and managers at chain stores and complete idiots at independents.

I have a friend who manages for a national tire and “complete auto care” chain. The problem is that they move people around. People do business with other people, not chains. You can bring your car to “his” store and be quite satisfied with the professional and quality service you receive with him running things. His store will then show increased sales as you tell your family and friends that to go to XYZ and Bob will treat you fairly. Corporate sees this and then moves him to another store to work his magic there. And Bob’s replacement may not be as good.

Many people–mechanics too–prefer the stability of an independent shop.

I’ve had good experiences with many chains. For me, the trick is to avoid the franchise locations and patronize the company-owned locations. I get some unnecesesary up-selling at the company stores, but it’s not as bad as I get at franchises.

I’ve taken a couple used vehicles to RPM Automotive for purchase inspections, and I get a lot of work done at Goodyear shops. Getting work done at a national chain means I can get warranty work done at any same-chain company-owned shop, no matter where I am.


nice bike

You seem to change your user picture nearly as often as you change your socks

Sometimes change is good

Yeah, I just sold one bike and got this one running again after storing it, but it’s still a four hour drive away, so I’m going through motorcycle withdraw and wishing I had the one in the picture to ride.

A heartwarming story. Thanks for posting it.