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Do We Really Need Auto Repair Shop Regulations?

Society implements rules and regulations to protect people and prevent harm—from laws limiting pollution to laws against child labor and many other practices. Federal government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Motor Vehicles, enforce laws by rolling out regulations (or standards) that individuals and organizations must follow.

When it comes to the automotive industry, safety on roads would be at risk without clear rules and regulations. That’s because many regulations help promote efficient repair practices and protect customers from fraud, improper repairs, and unqualified mechanics. For example, these are goals of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Division of Vehicle Safety Services, which publishes its regulations online. Many regulations vary by state, but generally auto repair shop regulations help to set standards for quality repairs.

EPA Regulations for Automotive Repair Shops

Federal agencies, such as the EPA, roll out standards aimed at keeping auto shops in compliance with environmental protections through waste management practices for oils and batteries, automotive painting, spill prevention and more. The EPA publishes a guidebook that auto repair shops can reference for checklists and other informative steps that help them stay compliant with environmentally friendly practices.

Auto Repair Shop Policies & Procedures

In addition to following federal, state, and local regulations, most auto repair shops also institute their own internal policies and procedures. Policies ensure that all customers receive the same quality and consistent service. For example, policies might cover:

  • Markup standards to prevent price confusion
  • Timeframe for quote validation (e.g., valid for 24 hours)
  • Payment in full policies
  • Acquiring customer emails for timely communications
  • Vehicle drop-off and pick-up expectations
  • Customer service surveys

Procedures help auto shop owners protect their employees and facility while limiting risk and liability. Examples of auto shop procedures may include:

  • Vehicle arrival process
  • Tire rotation and balancing
  • Lug nut and wheel tightening
  • Limiting distractions and errors
  • Entering new appointments
  • Maintenance check procedure

Automotive repair shops may have hundreds of policies and procedures to help ensure they run smoothly and safely—and these are just a few. Auto repair shop owners who want to build an environment of order, trust and compliance can also use checklists, forms, software and training to stay organized.

Auto Repair Labor Guides

Like state and federal regulations stipulate how an auto repair shop should meet standards, auto repair labor guides help mechanics meet fair standards when pricing estimates for repair work on vehicles. Customers want to feel like they’re getting a fair deal and quality materials, so it’s crucial that the estimate reflects that.

An auto repair labor guide lays out how much time mechanics in a shop should spend on different types of repairs, such as oil changes or air conditioning repairs. Mechanics can use the shop’s auto repair labor guide to:

  • Reference the set labor rate for the shop
  • Determine how long repairs will take
  • Predict materials needed
  • Introduce a markup to earn a profit
  • Calculate an auto repair quote

Depending on the auto repair shop, some auto labor guides are computer-based while others may be in booklet format. Mechanics should have a clear understanding and access to the labor guide, which helps streamline operations in the shop and improves customer relations.

Learn More About Automotive Repair

If you like working on vehicles and are interested in the regulations and precision that keep the automotive repair industry running, this might be a career path for you! Apex Technical School offers  hands-on, high-quality courses in Automotive Service & Repair for students who want to gain skills for entry-level employment. Explore the program and connect with our team to schedule a tour of our shops.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.