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Auto repairs are a $150 billion part of the U.S. economy, but leads and advertising for auto repair shops remain relatively underdeveloped — even though fewer than 30 percent of U.S. drivers can claim a trusted mechanic. Seeking to change all that are two companies that register cars and make repair and service recommendations: RepairPal and DriverSide.

RepairPal is mostly focused on providing expert and unbiased information and delivering its “AppointmentsPlus” leads for scheduling repairs. The company has partnered with players such as, AutoNation and AAA. It also just announced a partnership with the Automotive Services Association and has a longstanding relationship with the  Automotive Services Council of California.

DriverSide’s focus is on getting car owners to build free “online garages” for each registered car, where they can receive information on repair estimates, ask an auto mechanic, find a mechanic, find parts, get alerts on recalls, etc. The site has formed key partnerships with companies such as eBay Motors and Precision Tuning, and will soon have 700,000 garages. Advertisers buy monthly lead package programs, with leads priced at different rates, based on categories.

As of today, DriverSide is also providing an online diagnostic tool based on what owners “see, smell, hear or feel.”  If the site can virtually diagnose the problem, it offers advice for how to fix it, including “how to” videos. If the problem requires professional work, DriverSide will recommend local mechanics and tell the user how much they should pay for the service.

“A hundred dollars spent in proactive car care can save drivers thousands in repair costs down the road,” says CEO Jad Dunning in a release. “Our site is designed to be a resource for car owners who want to keep their cars running and in good condition, but need a little help along the way. We save drivers both time and money through every step of car ownerships, from purchase to repairs, insurance to accessories.”

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. This is from my friend Jim Bonfield over at CustomerLink…..

    Hey Peter! Long time no see! I hope you are well. We are doing some great work with RepairPal here at CustomerLink. Their model is great for us and our automotive repair and service center customers. (For whom we provide extensive loyalty, acquisition and CRM shop marketing service for) We always knew local online directories were powerful. Adding to that a service or industry specific overlay the way RepairPal has and you really have something.

    Jad’s model is an interesting one as well. For the passionate, probable specialty car owner, we see interesting applications. My personal concern with the model there is the “average” car owner’s attitude towards creating a facebook-like page for his car. It takes a lot of time it would seem to keep an online journal of vehicle maintenance. If they (the consumer) will do this and if the issues around car maintenance history availability to would be buyers doesn’t create a privacy issue for the current owner, it may get some traction. However, it seems many automotive aftermarket service providers have a “My Glovebox” or “My Car” kind of functionality already, I’d be interested in understanding better the uptake on such offerings. Finally, by offering DIY advice and repair videos it seems a bit at odds with the goals of local shops and more in line with a retail parts seller. Who knows right? Great job keeping on top of it Peter!

  2. Several years later and this is still a relevant problem for many consumers.

    I’ve seen some manufacturers, such as with a new Subaru my wife and I own, offering similar services to DriverSide, but not quite as polished in my opinion.

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