Lots of people struggle when it comes to finding a trustworthy auto mechanic. They want to have the ability to go to the garage and get their car repaired, without worrying about getting ripped off. This mechanic rip off report is full of tips to help people with this issue.
See also: 8 Ways to Save on Car Expenses
How to Avoid a Car Mechanic Rip Off
Unless you are a car mechanic, dealing with a repair shop may need a leap of faith. But if you listen to what your mechanic says (and does), you will find clues that could tell you if you are being ripped off.
Scams of disreputable service facilities comprise one or both of two components:
- Charging you for work that was not done.
- Convincing you of the need for unnecessary and frequently overpriced repairs.
Listed below are 9 different types of auto mechanic rip off tactics that you could encounter and ways to prevent, discourage and avoid them.
Unnecessary replacement of parts
If the mechanic says your car requires a replacement part, ask to be shown which part needs replacement and use a mark or some means to differentiate it afterward. Always tell the mechanic that you want the old part back–this way you know the product was actually replaced. If you’re still mistrustful, you could always have the part looked at by another mechanic to be certain it was defective.
Replacing a part unnecessarily occurs more frequently than thought by many car owners.
Why does this occur?
- The automobile owner brings in their vehicle chasing a deal on oil changes or comparable services. The mechanic then advises the client to get such and such part replaced in order to compensate for the loss on the inexpensive service the client originally came in for.
- There’s a problem with the car and instead of doing a thorough diagnostic with testing and evaluation, the mechanic supplies to replace a component to find out if that fixes the issue.
A mechanic who cares about her or his customers won’t suggest replacing parts without good reason.
Do your research before you visit your mechanic
There are lots of websites like RepairPal that provide auto repair estimators. Once you enter the information about your vehicle, it should give you an estimate of what your bill should be after the repairs are made. This gives you Something to compare to if the mechanic provides you an estimate.
Ask the mechanic to show you what’s wrong with your vehicle
This will really help you determine what’s wrong with the vehicle. See (with your eyes), exactly what is broken or not functioning. Many people like to have the ability to visualize and understand just what is wrong with the vehicle.
Charge for unauthorized work
Always request a repair estimate or work order that itemizes everything you’ve authorized. Don’t sign a work order unless it’s completely filled out and you understand what it says. Generally, the cost of the repair should vary above the original estimate by no more than 10%. Before authorizing even more work, make sure you know the exact dollar amount. Never tell your mechanic, “Do whatever is necessary.”
Learn as much as you can
By understanding enough about cars (and doing your homework), it is possible to determine which mechanics you can trust and which ones you can not. You may even be able to walk into the repair shop with a few thoughts about what the problem is so you do not get talked into unnecessary repairs. This might be as easy as reading your owner’s manual before you walk into the shop.
If at any point you’re uncomfortable with your mechanic, leave and find somebody else. If you simply don’t trust your mechanic, it could be time to look around for another mechanic. You may also opt to find someone else if you’re concerned about the number of repairs which the mechanic is advocating.
Charge for unnecessary work
Beware if your mechanic’s idea of “scheduled maintenance” bears little resemblance to the recommendations in your owner’s manual. Some shops pad the bill by advocating additional and frequently unnecessary procedures, such as engine and transmission flushes, or by scheduling a few jobs.
Be especially concerned if the mechanic makes every recommendation seem like an emergency.
Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion
If you feel like the mechanic is telling you that multiple things are wrong or you feel like the estimate is too high, don’t be afraid to go somewhere else. A second opinion may help you see that the first mechanic was a ripoff and was going to charge you too much.
Find a good mechanic which you can trust
Should you trust your mechanic, you’re not going to need to worry about getting ripped off. You will already know he is doing the best he can, for the best price. You do not have to wonder if he’s doing something unnecessary merely to earn more money.
Misdiagnosis of a problem
When a mechanic provides a diagnosis of your car’s problem, ask questions. Make sure the diagnosis agrees with the symptoms. If your engine alert light is on, ask what causes that problem. Check temperature and oil pressure warning lights immediately. If you’re unsure, read your owner’s manual and don’t continue driving until you understand the warning’s significance.
A fantastic defense against just about any scam, and especially for any costly repair, is to have another opinion. This is very important when it comes to automatic transmission repairs in which it is tough to tell whether the mechanic has been honest about repair work.
If you can still drive the car, take it to another store and see if you get the exact diagnosis. If the second store suggests another fix, you need to ask about the repairs recommended by the initial shop — it might be a case of something being missed from the very first store, the next one, or both.
The best shops can make errors, so every bad fix is not necessarily an attempted mechanic rip off. If you suspect you are being “taken for a ride,” the first step is to request the manager if there’s a clear chain of command. When problems do not get resolved as fast as they should, it is ideal to avoid angry confrontations. Be sure to let the ideal person know that you are following the appropriate procedures and have been frustrated in your attempts.
Make the mechanic warrant the initial repair. Even if it had been an honest misdiagnosis, the store should refund the sum of the initial repair or discount another one. If the mechanic receives the diagnosis wrong again, stop replacing components and replace the store.
How to deal with a mechanic
Getting the ideal repairs at a reasonable price is dependent upon communicating with your mechanic.
Here is what to say and to anticipate:
- Describe the issue fully. Supply as much information as you can. Write down the indicators and if they occur. If you can, talk directly to the mechanic who’ll be working on your vehicle.
- Don’t provide a diagnosis. Avoid stating what you believe is causing the issue. You might be on the hook for any repairs that the store makes at your proposal, even if they don’t address the issue.
- Request a test drive. If the issue occurs only when the vehicle is moving, ask the mechanic to accompany you on a test drive.
- Request evidence. If you’re uncomfortable with the identification, ask the store to show you. Worn brake pads or rusted exhaust pipes are easy to see. Don’t allow the mechanic to deny your request by stating that his insurer doesn’t allow clients into the workplace. Insist on proof anyway.
Auto Repair Shop Checklist
- Begin shopping for an auto repair facility and mechanic before you need one.
- Ask friends and associates for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations.
- Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.
- Start looking for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
- Look for a courteous staff, with a service writer willing to answer all of your questions.
- Look for policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc..
- Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.
- Search for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards.
- Search for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced coursework, and certification by ASE.
- Reward good service with repeat business and customer loyalty.
The best way to avoid a mechanic rip off is to find a mechanic you can trust. If you’re uncomfortable with the mechanic (or the number of repairs), feel free to leave. If you’re not certain, you could always get another opinion.
As you try to find a mechanic which you can trust, you ought to do your research so that you seem more educated to the mechanic. Visit an estimator so that you may have some idea of what your repairs should cost. Many people also like to understand what’s broken before they approve of these repairs. If you’re uncomfortable at any time, do not be afraid to go someplace else.