When on the road and your truck needs a mechanic, how do you figure out which is the best truck repair shop? Read on…

Truck repair shop: What to look for when choosing a truck repair

When out on the road, truckers don’t have access to the same familiar comforts they do when they are in their hometown. This includes obviously not having access to the often-familiar local repair shops that look after the mechanics of their trucks or if part of a fleet, the fleet garage.

So, when their truck runs into issues, and they are out on the road in the “wild” they often will have to get clever to assure they find the right garage to help them out. Not having access to the familiar folk, they typically see at their local garage means that when it comes time to look for a repair shop in another city, they better do a good job finding help.

So, what exactly is a trucker supposed to look for when choosing a reputable truck repair shop when away from home?

Read on and let us help answer that question for you.

Go the extra mile and bring it to an obviously capable garage

As a trucker, when on the road, it’s on you to ensure your semi-truck always gets the best care possible. After all, this vehicle is the asset you are counting on to help you support yourself and your family.

That means you have a responsibility to find a reliable truck repair shop when things go wrong. Additionally, as we all “Google it” when things go bad these days, a trucker, when searching for a garage that is near them also has the duty to be diligent to find the right shop and this activity, in and of itself, can be a pain for some.

Here is tip #1. If you think you found what looks like a good repair shop but there is one maybe a little bit further away that looks better….opt for the second option!

General truck repair shop versus specialist shops

If you are an experienced semi-truck driver, it’s highly likely that you have some basic knowledge about the inner workings of your truck. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skills or tools required to address and fix issues, but you are somewhat well-versed in the inner workings of the vehicle you’re driving daily. Generally, if you are a driver that knows a little about the truck you are driving, this should translate to you knowing whether you need a general truck mechanic or a heavy truck mechanic that specializes in providing a multitude of very specialized services.

Therefore, it is recommended that if, for example, you have a body frame issue, you are probably going to be best served by a garage that has obviously done a lot of truck frame repair. Hence bring it to a truck frame repair shop.

Similarly, if you need very specific tires, you might be best served to check in with a commercial truck tire repair shop that carries a wide selection of tires.

The list of examples goes on. The main point is when searching for a place to bring your truck you are better off taking it somewhere that is obviously reputable and experienced over somewhere that is conveniently located. For more general services like windshield wipers, oil changes, and minor tweaks to the engine, a general truck mechanic might likely suffice, however, we would always err on the side of caution and bring it to a specialist!

Fair prices

If you are driving through rural areas, it’s not likely you are going to have many choices in terms of finding a diesel repair shop. In such cases, the price is the price unless you would have the ability to make it to the next major stop. If you do have that ability, you owe it to your “trucking business” to do what would be the financially responsible thing to do. That means figuring out what repair/maintenance services you need and shopping for the best prices possible.

Here is another useful tip, tip #2. Shops that specialize in certain services are probably going to offer higher prices than the prices you would get from a general semi-truck mechanic. That would certainly be true if you need help from a mechanic that is specifically experienced with certain brands of trucks like a specialized Freightliner repair shop would be. If you are driving a Freightliner or other popular brand of truck, it sometimes will cost you more to bring it into a repair shop that specializes in that brand, but the trade-off is that you are assured you will get mechanics with experience with your brand and parts that are all OEM. Yes, depending on the issue at hand, you might have to swallow higher prices when it comes to assuring you get original parts.

Preventative maintenance versus repairs

It should be clear to you that any reasonably reliable truck mechanic should be able to serve you for all preventative maintenance tasks. That being the case, it can be difficult to decide sometimes if it is better when doing simple upkeep to bring it into a general truck mechanic or a specialized truck repair shop. We would argue that if you know you are working with a truck mechanic that has the experience and that you can trust, then, for the sake of your wallet, avoid the specialist. When seeking preventative maintenance services, assuming you have a reliable truck mechanic in your corner, go with the simple mechanic.

If you need something like tractor-trailer repair or truck transmission repair, you really will be better off looking for and going to a specialist. They will inevitably carry the required parts in stock and have plenty of experience in making such repairs.

Don’t forget to consider rebuilt parts

Whoa! Do you have to buy that new???

There are a lot of truck repair shops that amass a ton of good, dare we say excellent conditioned parts and pieces over the course of day-in-day-out repairs. Profit-seeking and intelligent truck garage owners know that parts left to experienced mechanics can be rebuilt. Not only rebuilt… rebuilt to like new in many instances.

Truck repair shops that sell refurbished like new parts are absolutely another thing to look for if you are considering bringing your truck to one shop versus another. Simply put, if you find a truck repair shop that offers new and rebuilt (refurbished) truck parts then you know that at a minimum, you’ll be able to choose from a wider selection of products. If you are confident that the shop is selling you an excellently rebuilt product, then, you save money, plain and simple.

Always get a couple of quotes

All truck repair shops know exactly who their direct competition is. They have a good idea of what other shops in the area are charging for their services. They also have a general understanding that should you have an emergency, you can potentially be at the mercy of their pricing.

Before you agree to pay for any repair services or begin buying parts, it’s on you to make sure you get a quote. It should be an all-inclusive quote. If you get an estimate, you have a right to know the possible price range.

Since you must ultimately choose one shop over another, you should try to restrict your choice to the repair shop whose truck mechanics seem most experienced. This way, when you receive your quote, you’ll have confidence that your quote is one you can rely on. Tip #3! Don’t be shy to test the negotiation process to get a lower price. It doesn’t cost you anything and can save you some money along the way

Referrals, online reviews & details of the website

If you have been in the trucking business for any meaningful length of time, you surely understand that the trucking community is small and intimate in terms of the sharing of information. The first place you should look for a reputable repair shop, if possible, is by getting referrals from other truckers that you know have passed through the town where your truck is having an issue. They will give you a lot of insight and save you time if they have an answer as they will have already gone through the process once before. Word of mouth is ultimately the best advice this is no different in the trucking industry.

Reviews! Use them, read them, and get them from multiple sources, think Google reviews, Facebook, yellow pages, and Yelp. With a couple of clicks and a few scrolls here and there, you can use the internet to locate truck mechanics, truck garages and truck repair shops getting insight into their abilities simply based on the reviews people have left them. Don’t assume an all-five-star review necessarily means you’ve found a perfect match and don’t be silly and bring in your truck to a place with zero reviews. Read what people have said first, then make your decision.

TruckPro states on their website that they are “the largest network of independent heavy vehicle repair centres in Canada with more than 120 service centres.”. If all else fails and you want a reputable opinion, use their search tool and they will quickly guide you to a member TruckPro centre around you.

Summary of how to choose a truck repair shop

Lastly, and this one is a no-brainer, see what the site has to say. If a company has been offering truck repair services since 1915, chances are pretty good that they are reputable. Again, see what you need, then dig for the information, with all of this, you will know exactly what to look for when choosing a truck repair shop!