You see the American Automobile Association (AAA) logo everywhere, you’re likely familiar with their membership promotions, and every once in a while you’ll come across an auto repair shop with the AAA approved sticker or badge in their window. Does this actually matter for the consumer, or Is this just another marketing scheme used by mechanics?
Are AAA approved Auto Repair Shops Really Worth It?
To answer the question are AAA approved repair shops beneficial, we need to understand what AAA is and does, and the ins and outs of what it takes for a shop to become and maintain AAA approved status.
- What Is AAA?
- How Many Repair Centers In The US are AAA Approved?
- How Does AAA Choose Their Repair Shops
- How Do Shops Maintain Their Status
What is AAA?
With over 58 million members, The American Automobile Association is North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization. Since its beginning in 1902, AAA has provided millions of Americans with auto and life insurance and a wide range of financial and automotive-related services. They are an industry leader in travel safety and security and the world’s largest publisher of travel information.
On top of being a trusted source for all life and travel-related information and insurance, AAA has the largest roadside assistance program in all of North America. In the century AAA has been in business, they have proven time and time again their number one priority is the safety and security of their members and all travelers alike.
How Many Repair Centers In The US Are AAA Approved?
According to AAA Newsroom, there are currently 7,000 approved auto repair facilities in The United States and Canada. According to ibisworld.com, there are over 260,000 registered repair facilities in the U.S. and over 27,000 in Canada. Keep in mind, this doesn’t account for all unregistered shops such as mobile or backyard mechanics. So as you can see, the ratio of AAA-approved repair facilities is quite low. Here’s a breakdown of the actual math and percentage of repair centers able to achieve AAA approved status.
- Total registered mechanics in North America – 287,000
- Total AAA Approved Facilities – 7,000
- Total % of AAA Approved Repair Centers in North America – 2.4%
When broken down into a percentage, it’s clear to see AAA approved repair facilities are rare. Of course, this stat alone doesn’t necessarily mean an approved shop is better than a non-approved shop, so let’s take a closer look at what it actually takes for a repair shop to achieve this status.
How Does AAA Choose Their Shops?
As outlined in the last section, only a tiny percentage of total auto repair centers become a AAA approved facility. The question then becomes is this due to a strict approval process by AAA, or because the vast majority of shop owners do not see value in being AAA approved? The reality is most shops in North America do not meet the standards to even be considered by AAA as an approved repair center. The approval process requires transparency and honesty, and the shop must meet ALL criteria set forth by AAA. Here’s a simplified breakdown of the entire approval process.
AAA Survey: Once the application is sent and received, AAA will send out a trained representative to research customer satisfaction. In this initial survey, the rep will poll customers about their experience with the business. The shop must receive at least a 90% satisfaction rating to make it to the next portion of the approval process
AAA Facility Tour: In this section of the approval process, a AAA rep will visit the repair center for an inspection. They thoroughly check all equipment and assess the overall condition of the shop.
Repair Tech Interviews: On top of checking customer satisfaction and the overall condition of the shop, each mechanic is interviewed during the application process. AAA ensures that the shop has repair techs that are ASE Certified in all areas of service offered at the shop and verifies there are ASE Master Technicians on staff. These interviews ensure the mechanics are up to date with certifications, and the shop is only offering the services they are qualified to perform.
Shop Credibility: The final portion of the application process is a review of the applicant’s credibility as a business. AAA ensures the shop is insured and trustworthy enough to display their seal of approval.
How Does A Shop Maintain Their Status?
Once a repair shop has been approved and is entered into the Approved Auto Repair Program, they will continue to be monitored by AAA. This includes bi-annual shop inspections and customer satisfaction surveys. To maintain the approved status, the shop must keep at least a 90% or higher customer satisfaction rating.
As you can see an AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility is held to a much higher standard than those who are not. That’s not to say there aren’t excellent mechanics outside the AAA network, because there definitely are. The idea behind the program is to create a level of trust and transparency that can sometimes be hard to find in the automotive repair industry. Regularly having a 3rd party review and grade the shop takes a level of pressure off of the consumer, as well as the business owners. With over a hundred years in business, millions of satisfied customers, and a global leader in travel and consumer education, AAA is a name that can be trusted.
AAA Auto Repair Facility
At Metro Transmission and Automotive, our top priority is customer satisfaction and safety. If you’re interested in our AAA Approved automotive and transmission repair services, give us a call today or fill out our online form.