Have you ever wondered if your mechanic is taking advantage of you? Do you ever get the suspicion that you’re paying too much for your auto repairs? If you ever have these thoughts, you’re not alone. There are repairs that you are most likely overcharged for.
Until recently, whenever I got my car repaired I felt I was overcharged. When I talked to my colleagues about it, it became clear that I was looted. Even after trying a lot of ways they suggested, nothing seemed working at first. It took time to get accustomed to getting price quotes and reading online forums. Now things started getting better and better. Not only I can now do many repairs myself but also, I seem to be satisfied with the money I pay when I get it repaired by a mechanic.
How did this happen?
A lot of conversation with friends and colleagues surely helped me. Also took expert opinion on internet. Now I feel I can help others to reduce their car repair cost.
At my work, this man recently had the service engine light come on in her car, took it to the mechanic, and he performed about $1,000 worth of repairs. As he explained to me what the issues were, I soon realized that many of the repairs were simply unnecessary and his car would have continued to run just fine without them. Of course, I did not want to insult him or make him feel like she got cheated so I simply told him how much of a bummer that must have been to shell out all that cash for his repair.
Next time he needs a repair though, I will give him this advice:
1) Read About the Problem Online
This is the single largest contributor to my increased satisfaction on my repair cost. Say you drive a Honda and your power window stops working, you Google the model and problems. You’ll get tons of result. Read as much as you can, I am sure someone before you had to do the repair. Almost always I found multiple persons posting their cost of repair.
This will allow you to not only have the fair price idea but also you can get advice to fix it yourself. If you don’t want to take chances, you still know what it takes to fix. So no mechanic can make you believe otherwise.
(Read Also – Saving Money on Car Tires)
2) Read The Manual
Car repair shops don’t make huge money on extensive operations like transmission, engine work,etc. These require expensive parts, and more mechanic’s time. So while you pay a lot for these repairs, shops doesn’t make much profit. With the smaller operations, like oil change, brake change, tire rotation, AC filter replacement, etc you don’t pay as much, but your mechanic makes a huge profit.
If you compare owner’s manual with a dealer manual , whenever offered a dealer recommended service, decline it if it doesn’t tally with owner’s manual.
Take some time to learn about your car, when you appear to be knowing about your car’s problem, mechanics don’t really try to up-sell repairs that are necessary. Also reading about your car can help you in many other ways, especially in emergency road side situation.
2) Get Multiple Estimates
Once you discover what the problem is, call at least two other mechanics in the area and tell them what your first mechanic said needed replacing. First ask them if this absolutely needs to be replaced, and if they say yes, then ask what it would cost for them to replace it.
This line of questioning lets you know how honest your current mechanic really is, and you will find out how good his pricing is compared to the competition.
RepairPal and AutoMD are sites where you can get quotes from multiple repair shops in your locality. I never used them but knew a few who did.
(Related read – What to do when car repair goes wrong)
3) Ask Them the Cost of the Parts
Once you find out who has the cheapest bid, ask them how much each replacement part is going to cost you. For many mechanics, I have discovered that I can find quality parts for much cheaper when I hunt around on Amazon or eBay.
If they will agree to install parts that you provide (but obviously won’t warranty them), then start shopping online to see what it might cost for you to order these parts yourself.
I have found that I can often order parts for nearly half of the cost that my mechanic would have charged me. With this savings, I could even overnight the part and still save a ton of money, while still ensuring a quick repair time on my car.
I have an account with Discount Auto Parts, where I get big discount on parts. Sometimes buying arts from reputed stores is better than buying from eBay or Amazon. Especially when buying costly parts.
4) Check the Reviews
If you are still unsure about your mechanic, just Google their business name (or their personal name) and see what types of reviews you find for their establishment. If there are five or more reviews that are from upset customers, you might just want to steer clear of this mechanic.
Sure, it is possible that you could receive great service, but when there are more than a handful of instances where customers were not satisfied, then the odds are not in your favor. Do your homework when you select an auto mechanic. You won’t be sorry you did.
Do you safeguard yourself from a mechanic that might be overcharging you?
Simply change it. I have been in this situation and there is not much you can do.
Change it to what? Did you mean changing your mechanic?
Nina @ RichLife.io says
This goes for many other types of businesses too. I know in IT it sadly happens sometimes that businesses take advantage of the lack of knowledge of the client. If you find it hard yourself then it can already help to take someone along who does have the knowledge.
Paul @ The Frugal Toad says
I found a repair shop that is honest and has fair prices. They are not the cheapest in town but they do quality work and I trust them. I know a lot about car repair and I have found that if the mechanic knows that they are dealing with an informed consumer there is less chance of being overcharged.
Trust is essential, I haven’t built up that trust with any one for my cars so, I need a lot of research before heading out looking for quotes. If you are satisfied with your mechanic, there’s no point in going elsewhere.
stacey bowen says
Thanks for the share, these are definitely all things that need to be taken care of when it comes to your vehicle. Also keep in mind that you should check to make sure that your wiper blades aren’t worn down. Generally speaking if your wipers are making any noise or leaving streaks on your windshield, it may be time for a new pair.
Thanks for these tips. I am about to bring my car to the auto service shop. I will take note of all of these. I am now looking up some auto service shops.
Talk to friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Pick a trusted mechanic and stick with them. That’s my mantra of securing my hard-earned money.
Wesley Bates says
Most mechanics are honest professionals working in their field earning their livelihood. Most of the time the price charged by the mechanic is same as the price quoted. But sometimes we are overcharged for services. At that time we should remain calm and step back emotionally to analyze the situation. We must not react angrily in that situation. We must ask the mechanic politely about the charges for the service. Ask for explanation why we are not notified about the actual estimates. If the person with whom we are talking is unable to answer our questions properly we should ask him politely to talk with the manager.
Maria Lena says
Most of the car mechanics generally earn their livelihood by doing repair work. They are honest in their profession. So they charge the exact price that is quoted. But sometimes we are overcharged for services. The mechanics ask for extra charge. In that case we mustn’t become angry with them. Otherwise we should remain calm & ask politely to the mechanic the reason for this overcharge & why we were not informed earlier about the actual estimates. If the person is unable to answer our questions properly then we should ask him to talk with the manager. If the mechanic any how knows that we are well informed consumers, it is not possible for him to ask us for extra charge.
I took my 13 year old car to the dealership and left out being (I think) over charged for services. Can I call back and use coupons for the services?
Peugeot service center in UAE says
Bottom line is most repair places are trustworthy. It’s worth it to ask around ahead of time and find a shop near you that people trust.
Peugeot boxer says
It is true there are some mechanics who try to overcharge for car repairs especially when deal with the women customers. Thus, it is imperative to understand the nuances correctly about car repairing so as to avoid the hackles.
This is sad. People absolutely can not stand to pay for a valueable repair shop! Restaurants mark up cost of food 4x, clothing companies 10x cost, and other companies 20x cost! This person has your life in their hands and you complain when they make a profit ?! Cars these days are high tech computers. Hoestly people like this are why all the mechanics charging “cost” go out of business. The objective is to offer value and make a profit… nothing is wrong with that.
Rodney Poplin says
Making a profit is one thing, Robbing you is another, charged me $299.99
For internal filter neck hose, exact same item part numbers are the same, manufacture the same, $49.99, charged me about $360 for part of the job, did it have way.
So what do you call that, robbery or profit??
Mr Personguy says
I was just charged $599 for a part online that is under $100 brand new
And that was only one of the parts that Roy’s Automotive in Bradenton FL overcharged me for
Over $1000 in unnecessary charges
Rodney Poplin says
What do you do if estimate was for $800,
You haven’t heard from the shop never received call backs, had my vehicle for months, when finally they called for pickup, bill was $2600.00 . And when I started to check the pricing on the parts they made almost $900 over charging for parts..
I’m RLS I wrote about the 800 dollar estimate, forgot to mention that most of the work was done without Pride. Bad work, vehicle broke down and fixed myself, it was the same reason it went in the first time, didn’t really fix much I had to redo all the work I paid them for.