The Best Auto Repair Shops in Pinellas County FL Are the Ones Verified As Safe To Hire
Auto repair shops in Pinellas County FL bearing The Prime Buyer's Report TOP 10 symbol are those that have exceeded the minimum Florida regulatory standard. They are the car repair services proven by our independent research to have passed the TOP 10 requirements for value and honesty, carry liability insurance as protection for you the customer, and for whom our staff has called previous customers to verify high satisfaction with them for auto repair in Pinellas County FL, including tune ups, diagnostics, routine scheduled maintenance, fleet service and more.
Updated December 26, 2016
|A-1 Auto Service|
8592 Seminole Blvd
Seminole, FL 33772
Areas Served: Lealman,Pinellas County,Palm Harbor,St Petersburg,Boca Ciega,Clearwater,Largo Florida
Services: auto repairs including alignment, repair diagnostics, engine repair, tune-ups
|Tommy's Auto Service|
2643 22nd Ave N
St Petersburg, FL 33713
Areas Served: Pinellas County,Seminole FL,St Petersburg,Lealman,Clearwater,Tarpon Springs,Largo
Services: engine repair, fuel pumps, auto diagnostics, all other car repairs
|Skycrest Auto Service|
1927 Drew St
Clearwater, FL 33765
Areas Served: Pinellas Park,Clearwater,Largo FL,Pinellas County,St Petersburg,Boca Ciega,Seminole
Services: car mechanics for engine diagnostic repairs, tune-ups, scheduled maintenance
201 34th St N
St Petersburg, FL 33713
Areas Served: Tarpon Springs,Pinellas County,Largo FL,St Petersburg,Palm Harbor,Clearwater FL
Services: car repair shops, auto mechanics for all car repairs, tune-ups, engine repair
|Gulfport Auto & Truck Repair|
1099 49th St S
Gulfport, FL 33707
Areas Served: Seminole FL,St Petersburg,Lealman,Pinellas County,Tarpon Springs,East Lake FL
Services: car repairs incl. domestic cars, import cars, engine repair, fuel injection
|Pfeifer Auto Service|
1261 San Christopher Dr
Dunedin, FL 34698
Areas Served: Safety Harbor,Seminole,St Petersburg,Lealman,Tarpon Springs,Pinellas County Florida
Services: auto mechanics for all car repairs incl. foreign cars, domestic cars
|Gramley's Auto Repair|
51 Pasadena Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33707
Areas Served: Pinellas County,Tarpon Springs,St Petersburg,Clearwater FL,Dunedin,Largo,Seminole
Services: car repair shop for scheduled car maintenance, major & minor repairs
|Palm Harbor Auto Service|
1010 Alt 19
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
Areas Served: Pinellas County,St Petersburg FL,Clearwater FL,Largo FL,Boca Ciega,Palm Harbor,
Services: local auto repair shop for engine repair, tune ups, diagnostics, foreign & domestic
10166 66th St N
Pinellas Park, FL 33782
Areas Served: Pinellas County,Boca Ciega,St Petersburg,Palm Harbor,Dunedin,Clearwater Florida
Services: all car repair services including domestic & foreign cars, engines, suspensions
The state of Florida doesn't require any state license of auto repair shops in Pinellas County FL merely a registration with the FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services), so there's no state standard for competency in auto repair.
So there's no guarantee that any particular car repair shop in Pinellas County FL is even competent, is doing business ethically, delivering value, or satisfying customers.
This makes it all the more significant that all services for auto repair in Pinellas County FL which bear The Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 symbol have been cleared by our research staff as passing all requirements for Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 status such as survey phone calls to their previous customers to verify high satisfaction, verified state registration, verified liability insurance for your protection, sufficient length of time in business, good complaint record, only employees legal to work in the U.S., and more.
The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act
If the car repair services will cost more than $100, the law requires the auto repair shop to give you the option of:
Requesting a written estimate;
Being notified by the auto repair shop if the car repair exceeds an amount you specify; or
Not requiring a written estimate at all.
You must sign and date one of the above options. Auto repair shops cannot force you to waive your right to an estimate.
When a written auto repair estimate is required, you must be given a copy.
The written estimate should clearly state if the price quoted is for new, used or rebuilt auto parts.
The auto repair shop must get your approval before exceeding the car repair cost by more than $10 or 10%, whichever is greater.
You can cancel the car repair services if they exceed the estimate and the auto repair shop must reassemble the vehicle, unless it is unsafe to drive. The auto repair shop may charge you for reassembly of the vehicle only if you were given notice of that charge on the estimate.
You are entitled by state law to get back any replaced parts if you requested them initially. However, the auto repair shop may charge a fee and, if the parts are under warranty agreement with the manufacturer or distributor, they may not be returned to you.
After auto repair services are completed, the written invoice detailing them must include:
Date and odometer reading.
Description of work.
Labor, parts and other merchandise costs.
Nature of parts (new, used, rebuilt, etc.)
Guarantee, if any.
Registration number from the certificate issued by FDACS identifying the auto repair shop.
Amount Over Written Estimate
If your auto repair bill exceeds the final estimate that you authorized by more than $10 or 10%, whichever is greater, and the auto repair shop refuses to give you your vehicle unless you pay, here is what you can do:
Obtain a copy of the bill from the auto repair shop and file a bond for the amount of the final car repair bill plus storage charges, if any, with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the auto repair shop is located.
The clerk will issue a certificate directing the auto repair shop to release your vehicle. A law enforcement officer will help deliver the certificate to the auto repair shop, if necessary.
The auto repair shop has 60 days to file a lawsuit to recover the bond as payment for the car repair. If the auto repair shop does not sue within 60 days, the clerk will return the bond money to you. The shop, however, can still file suit after release of the bond money.
SIGN AN AUTHORIZATION FORM PRIOR TO ANY DIAGNOSIS OR INSPECTION
Ask for a written authorization to sign which authorizes the shop to inspect and diagnose the car problem, and which outlines all costs for this inspection, any additional costs that you will incur if you choose not to have them do the car repairs, and in what state the car will be returned to you (assembled or disassembled). You do this because some auto repair shops will agree to what you think is a free diagnosis, but then when the car has been taken apart, only then do they tell you about an exorbitant charge to have the car reassembled to working order.
GET ESTIMATES IN WRITING, IN DETAIL, EVEN IF THE SHOP ALREADY TOLD YOU
Get the estimate put in writing and detailed, even if the auto repair shop has given it to you verbally in person or on the phone. A written estimate can avoid misunderstandings later, and having it written out in detail could remind you of something to ask, add, or remove that you would have overlooked. You are not troubling the shop by asking them to put it in writing. Any professional repair shop will be used to doing so.
REVIEW THE WRITTEN ESTIMATE THOROUGHLY
Verify that the written estimate includes all charges, i.e. labor, towing, parts, storage, rental car, or any other charge.
GET COMPELTE DETAILS ABOUT THE CAR PARTS
If the work includes replacing parts, make sure the estimate specifies whether the parts are brand new or instead are refurbished, and whether they are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or not. OEM parts are those made by the company who supplies the parts to the auto maker and which your car came with. Non-OEM parts, often referred to as aftermarket parts, are often cheaper but they will not last as long. That might be okay with you depending on your plans for the car but you deserve to make an informed decision and give your consent either way.
KEEP ONLY ONE POINT OF CONTACT WITH THE CAR REPAIR SHOP
Don't have someone else like your boyfriend, child, or sibling also get involved with the shop during the process of getting an estimate. Dishonest repair shops will use that as an excuse to later say you owe for repairs that other person supposedly gave permission for.
GET A WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION FORM TO SIGN BEFORE ANY WORK BEGINS
Make sure the written authorization form details all charges, states that there are no other charges besides those outlined in the form, and states a date on which the work will be done and your car returned to you. Tell the auto repair shop to state in writing that you are to be given any old parts that were replaced, along with the box the new ones came in. That gives you more assurance that the new part you paid for really was installed. Some car repair shops have been caught defrauding customers by charging for parts that were never installed.
DON'T REFUSE TO PAY THE BILL IN A DISPUTE
It will only make things worse for you. If there's a disagreement with the shop which you can't resolve, don't refuse to pay the bill. They have the legal right to keep your car until you pay them and they can add daily storage charges than can run into the thousands. So pay the bill but put in writing that you don't agree with the charges and are paying under protest. Then pursue a complaint with the Florida State Attorney General's office and/or a civil suit like in small claims court. Don't pay with a check with the intention to cancel the check once you have your car back, since the shop can legally repossess your car as a result.
If possible, speak with the most senior mechanic there or the owner. Ask the following questions about their abilities, credentials, and experience. Write down their answers.
• How long has this auto repair shop been in business?
• Is there a fee to inspect and diagnose the problem?
• Can they give names and numbers of customers you can call as references? (All auto repair shops bearing the Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 symbol have already had their customer references verified by our research staff so you don't have to.)
• How do they charge? Is it a flat fee per type of repair, or based on the number of hours worked?
• Will the put the repair estimate in writing?
• How often do they service your exact car model and make?
• Do they have OE diagnostic scanners specific to your make and model? An OBDII scanner is a low-cost generic scanner that will not show all the possible trouble codes for your specific car. A make/model specific scanner, referred to as an OE scanner (Original Equipment), is specific to a certain make of car. It's more expensive for the shop to own, so not every shop will have one for your car.
• Will they provide a written authorization for you to sign before beginning repairs? Written documentation is their assessment of what work is required. In case they're wrong about the problem, you might be able to get a refund or the additional repair at no cost. Their verbal recommendation on what they think you should do does not provide the same protection for you.
• Have they had other instances of this make and model needing the exact service you're asking about?
• Do they use OEM parts (original equipment manufacturer) or instead, lower quality aftermarket parts, or refurbished auto parts? Those lower quality options are cheaper, but a good shop would only use them after first explaining it as an option and letting you decide on the risk versus the short term cost savings. The best car repair shops use OEM parts. Cheap shops will use low-quality substitute parts without telling you, which is how the shop appears to be cheaper but really isn't.
• Do they have liability insurance that will reimburse you in the event of damage to your car while it's on their property or as a result of repair mistakes? (All shops bearing the Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 symbol have already had their insurance verified by our research staff so you don't have to.)
• Will the repairs invalidate or affect your manufacturer's warranty in any way?
• Will they honor your car warranty?
• What kind of written guarantee do they give on their repair work?
• How long will it take to finish your car repairs?
• What action would the car mechanic take personally if this was his car?
When you've chosen the best car repair shop for your needs, make sure it is registered with the State of Florida and has any legally necessary license from Pinellas County. (All shops bearing the Prime Buyer's Report-TOP 10 symbol have already had their state registration and county license verified by our research staff so you don't have to.)