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?