The Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program was created to address one of the most frequent consumer complaints in America, unsatisfactory automobile repairs. It does this by directing members and other consumers to AAA-approved repair facilities that meet and maintain high professional standards. The AAR program began in 1975, and today there are over 7,100 approved repair facilities across North America. Initially, the AAR program certified only general mechanical repair businesses, but today AAA clubs have the option to also approve collision repair centers (Approved Auto Body), specialty auto repair (Service) facilities, and auto glass businesses (Approved Auto Glass).
Local AAA clubs administer the AAR program with support and oversight from the national office. There are over 100 service specialists in the various AAR programs, each with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications and a background in automotive repair. A stringent set of program standards guides the clubs, and each AAR program is regularly accredited by the AAA national office.
The AAR approval process is tough. When a shop applies, a service specialist inspects the facility for cleanliness, proper tools, adequate technical training, and appropriate technician certifications. AAA also checks the facility’s reputation with government and consumer agencies, and performs insurance and financial background checks. A significant number of facility customers are then surveyed to obtain their opinions on how well the business meets their automotive service needs. Minimum standards for positive responses must met before the facility will be considered for approval.
A committee of club officials reviews the results of the investigation and makes the final approval decision. Thereafter, each AAR shop is inspected at least every 90 days and recertified annually. To ensure customer satisfaction, AAR facilities must participate in an independent and ongoing monitoring program. Over the years, AAR facilities have surveyed tens of millions of service customers and maintained top-two-box satisfaction levels that average better than 95 percent.
When approved, AAR facilities sign a contract in which they agree to provide AAA members with:
- Priority service when a member’s car is towed in due to a breakdown
- A 24-month/24,000-mile warranty (whichever comes first) on parts and labor
- A 10% discount on repair labor
- A free maintenance inspection with other paid repairs (mechanical shops only)
- The return of replaced parts if requested
- The right to have AAA arbitrate any dispute between a AAA member and the facility.
While non-members do not receive all of the benefits that AAA members are entitled to, the general motoring public does profit from the knowledge that a repair shop displaying the AAR sign has met AAA’s tough standards and can be counted on to do a good job. Non-member repair complaints are typically recorded by AAA clubs, and the facility is made aware there is a problem, but the arbitration benefit of the AAR contract does not apply in these cases.
For more information about the Approved Auto Repair program, please contact Jim Sennett by phone at (716) 929-3659 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org in the Western Region, Bob Prendergast by phone at (315) 558-6647 or by email email@example.com in the Central Region or Greg Daughton by phone at (585) 388-4051 or or by email firstname.lastname@example.org in Rochester.