About 10 years ago, I wrote an article about the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), an organization every body shop in California is more than familiar with, but the general public doesn’t even know what the acronym means.
Most people encounter the BAR when their cars are smog checked, or they see a plaque on a wall in a waiting room at a body shop.
I used some of my friends and other people back then to find out what they knew about the BAR. Only six out of the 30 people I talked to knew what the BAR was and what it does.
I also got some peculiar responses to my query, including “It’s law-related, right?” and “Is it a bartender union?”
Now in 2020, consumers are savvier about their cars, and that includes knowing about the BAR and its role in the automotive repair industry in California. By working hard to educate the public about what they do and how they can protect consumers, the BAR has significantly enhanced its communications and marketing, including its website at www.bar.ca.gov.
BAR’s website offers an Auto Shop Locator, a convenient and fast way for consumers to find a licensed automotive repair facility nearest to them.
Originally it was designed to locate smog check stations, but now it has been expanded to include all licensed auto repair businesses, including body shops, mechanical repair shops, air conditioning, parts retailers, auto dismantlers, glass windshield and mobile mechanics.
The Auto Shop Locator also allows users to obtain two other pieces of invaluable information---the shop’s BAR license number and whether or not it’s on probation or the subject of a pending enforcement action by BAR.
Rather than using MapQuest or Google, the BAR’s Shop Locator is a “more convenient way to find shops”, according to Clay Leek, who oversees BAR’s smog check, engineering and information services division.