Over the past decade, several internet-based companies have set out to change the automotive repair industry for the better. Understanding that car repair and maintenance is oftentimes a dreaded chore for many car owners, companies like RepairSmith, RepairPal, Openbay, YourMechanic, and Wrench, have all made it their mission to make car repair more convenient.
Before we go any further in comparing three of these companies – RepairSmith vs Openbay vs RepairPal – it is important to note one key difference between them. Both Openbay and RepairPal differ from RepairSmith in that they connect car owners to a network of certified repair shops. So, they essentially are a marketplace of shops. RepairSmith, on the other hand, is a full-service mobile car repair company that offers both on-site mobile repair services as well as a network of certified shops.
So, when it comes to convenient car repair, how do these three companies stack up? And which should you use to service your vehicle?
Established in 2007, RepairPal’s mission is to bring trust and transparency to auto repair. RepairPal provides car owners with free car repair estimates and connects them with trusted shops that guarantee fair prices, quality parts, and expert staff. Car owners can get estimates and book appointments directly through the RepairPal website.
Established in 2012, Openbay connects car owners with its wide network of service professionals. Through their website or app, vehicle owners either choose the service they need or describe the problem they’re experiencing. Openbay then reaches out to its network of service professionals to request binding service offers on the car owner’s behalf.
Founded in 2018, RepairSmith provides car owners with the first full-service mobile car repair solution. This means that not only do they employ expert technicians who provide a wide range of mobile repair services, but if the job requires shop-level tools, they’ll bring the vehicle to one of their certified shops and back when the job is complete. Car owners can get upfront pricing and book appointments directly through the RepairSmith website.
Online Booking, Certified Shops – Tied
Openbay, RepairPal, and RepairSmith actually have a few things in common despite their differences in service offerings.
Openbay, RepairPal, and RepairSmith all offer easy online booking through their websites. It is 2020, after all. Via their websites, you can choose from a long list of available services ranging from routine maintenance like oil changes and brake pad replacements to more complex repairs. If you’re not sure what your vehicle needs, you can simply describe the symptoms you’re experiencing. All three companies also offer free instant quotes, once you provide them with the year, make, and model of your vehicle.
As mentioned before, Openbay and RepairPal are both primarily a network of certified auto repair shops, while RepairSmith is primarily a mobile repair service. However, in addition to their mobile services, RepairSmith also has an extensive network of fully-vetted repair shops for any jobs that require shop-level tools. So, if you’re looking for a trusted brick and mortar repair shop to bring your vehicle to, all three companies are here to help you out.
Service Warranty – Winners: RepairSmith and RepairPal
Warranties are a must when you talk about anything car related. You wouldn’t buy a car without inquiring about a warranty, so why would you get your car repaired without a warranty?
Both RepairPal and RepairSmith stand behind their service by offering a service warranty, so car owners can continue to have peace of mind long after their repairs are completed. RepairPal recently rolled out their RepairPal Nationwide Warranty™ program which extends the repair shop’s local warranty to cover car owners nationwide. This nationwide coverage is free when using a RepairPal Certified shop. RepairSmith also makes sure that car owners are taken care of after the job is complete by offering a 12-month/12,000-mile service warranty on all jobs.
While Openbay does offer a guarantee that covers credit card payments processed through their system, they do not directly offer a service warranty on all repairs. Rather, they leave it up to the shops. While parts and service warranties are one of the criteria to join the Openbay network, Openbay provides no guarantee that these warranties will be upheld. So, it is up to the car owner to do their due diligence and inquire with the shop about their warranties before agreeing to the job.
Appointment Availability – Winner: RepairSmith
When it comes to actual appointment availability, RepairSmith takes the lead by offering several available date and time slots upfront. Depending on when you inquire about a service, you can even get same-day or next day appointments. Simply choose from the available time slots, and a RepairSmith technician will arrive at your selected date and time to work on your vehicle. Car owners can also call in to schedule appointments.
Openbay and RepairPal, on the other hand, don’t offer true appointment times. Rather, car owners can designate a preferred drop-off time. The drop-off time lets shop owners know when to expect your vehicle. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean your vehicle will be worked on as soon as it arrives. Additionally, car owners can also call the shops directly to schedule an appointment. Openbay and RepairPal make it easy to see local shop information all in one place.
Convenience – Winner: RepairSmith
RepairSmith offers the ultimate level of convenience when it comes to car repair. After booking an appointment, an ASE-certified RepairSmith technician will arrive in a state-of-the-art company vehicle with all the tools, parts, and equipment necessary to get the job done. If your vehicle requires shop-level tools, they can tow it to one of their certified shops and back again when the job is complete. The true convenience lies in the fact that you’ll have a dedicated technician working on your car (and your car only). This saves you time because you no longer have to wait for cars ahead of you, drive a loaner vehicle, or even worse, be without your vehicle for a number of days.
Openbay and RepairPal are convenient in that they offer car owners a thorough list of nearby repair shops. Additionally, they make it easy for car owners to manage their entire appointment through their online platforms. However, at the end of the day, when using these two companies, you will still have to drop your vehicle off at the shop, which will inevitably take time out of your day. Not to mention, you are still at the mercy of the shop’s schedule, and there is no guarantee that your car will be repaired within a specific window of time.
At the end of the day, it really just depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a nearby repair shop to bring your vehicle, Openbay and RepairPal are a great options in that they’ll compile a list of certified shops in your area based on location, price, ratings, and service offerings. They help you facilitate the booking process from start to finish and offer guaranteed upfront pricing.
On the other hand, if a mobile mechanic service is what you’re looking for, RepairSmith is the way to go. They offer a wide range of repair services performed by ASE-certified technicians directly in your driveway. All technicians are RepairSmith employees, and they come cleanly uniformed in company vehicles stocked with all the tools, parts, and equipment necessary to complete the repair.
In the end, the choice is yours – all three companies offer differing levels of convenience that saves car owners precious time when it comes to car repair!