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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

8 Tips to Choose The Right Classic Car Repair & Restoration Shop in Texas

You know the # 1 problem people encounter when repairing their classic car or truck?

Picking the wrong repair shop.

I’ve been repairing classic cars my entire life. I’ve been doing it professionally since 1986. You wouldn’t believe the horror stories I’ve heard and seen over the years from people taking their classic car or truck for repairs to the wrong shop.

So, what can you do to select the right shop? Here are our tips:

# 1 – Look for a shop that works exclusively on classic cars and trucks.

This first tip is going to help you to narrow down your choices. It is highly suggested that you seek out classic car restoration experts. You probably wouldn’t hire a shop that specialized in European exotic sports cars to restore your Ford Mustang and vice versa.

The perfect situation would be to find a Mustang specialist, but that may not be possible depending on where you live. There will be, however, plenty of great shops to choose from that specialize in Ford, Chevy, Mopar, etc. no matter what part of the country you reside.

#2 – Be clear about what you are looking to accomplish.

You need to set your expectations of the final restoration or repair and clearly communicate that with every shop you are interested in. Get together at the shop and come up with a realistic plan of what is expected of you both to make your dream machine a reality. A high-quality shop may have to charge you to do a proper inspection of the car to give an accurate estimate. That alone could run as high as $500 but is a wise investment if you are planning to spend tens of thousands.  We have a special running right now of $150 off a classic car restoration assessment through August 31, 2019.

# 3 – Inspect their work

It is definitely in your best interest to look at previous restorations performed by the shop. Ask the shop owners for referrals from previous customers.  You might also ask them if they have any pictures online of their before & after restoration work.

Another good way to see cars is at local shows or by meeting up with local car clubs.  Many enthusiasts will be familiar with restoration shops in the area and can provide opinions and work that has been done on their own classic cars and trucks.

# 4 – Check online reviews and with the Better Business Bureau.

A quick search on Google can often bring up previous customer feedback in online reviews.  If a shop has a bunch of 2 and 3 star reviews, you might want to look for a different shop.  Don’t let a few bad reviews deter you.  That is bound to happen in any business.  We pride ourselves on having a high rating online from our previous customers.

You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complaints filed against them or any negative reviews left on the BBB website.  On the other hand, the business may be accredited by them.  That generally means that company will typically put in the effort to resolve any consumer complaints and have mostly satisfied customers.

#5 -Visit the shop in person and ask to have a look around. Is it organized? Are cars cared for? Look at the equipment. Look at the employees. Look at the tools.

Trust your instinct on this one! If you walk into a shop and observe employees with bad attitudes or the place is a major mess and looks disorganized it is likely a bad sign of things to come. On the other side of the coin, a shop that is sparkling clean and offers things too good to be true with a friendly smile could also be hiding something. Best thing to do is trust your inner senses.

One thing you should certainly check into is if all technicians at the shop are ASE certified (Automotive Service Excellence). Every automobile professional should at least be tested, and ASE certified before becoming a restoration expert.

#6– Meet the shop owner or manager

This is a very important part of choosing a restoration shop.  Restorations often take months if not years to complete.  You are going to be spending a lot of time communicating with the shop owner or manager.  Make sure you see eye to eye and enjoy speaking with each other.  I can’t imagine not getting along with the main person responsible for my restoration or repair.

Plus, far too often a negative attitude from a shop owner or manager will trickle down and spread to other employees working there.

#7 – Insist on a professional inspection prior to any work being done. Expect to pay for the inspection.

Any shop that tells you they can give an accurate restoration estimate without an inspection is either crazy or overcharging you.  There is no way of knowing what lies under the hood so to speak without a full inspection of the vehicle.  Like we said earlier, while it often costs money for an inspection, it is a wise investment if you are planning to spend tens of thousands.

#8 – Get it in writing.

It would be foolish to not get all terms, warranties and guarantees in writing.  It protects you and the shop y providing clear expectations throughout the restoration process.  Again, restorations often take months if not years to complete.  However, you need to know that your vehicle is a top priority for the shop and not just sitting in a corner waiting for someone to “get to it”.  It’s best to have a reasonable timeframe in writing as well.

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