Having to visit the automobile mechanic’s shop is probably the one moment that every vehicle owner dreads. If you know little to nothing about cars and one fine day find your car breaking down in the middle of the road, you must make a trip to the automobile repair shop. What makes vehicle owners dread this experience so much is that on average a trip to the mechanic’s is likely to cost them a couple of hundred dollars.
You might often find yourself wondering whether what you spend at a mechanic shop is worth the work you get done or if you are being overcharged. While some of the costs may be legit, mechanics also tend to overcharge customers who know nothing about their vehicle. Hence, below are five ways you can avoid getting ripped off at your local mechanic or automobile repair shop:
1. Establish a friendly relationship with a mechanic
Spending time with and getting to know a mechanic is likely to make your trips to the automobile repair shop much easier and smoother than they currently are. To do so, you must first ask around among family and friends about which are their most-visited and trusted garages and visit one based upon a recommendation. If you visit a mechanic for the first time and let them know you sent you there, you are likely to set a rapport with them from the beginning. In such cases, mechanics are less likely to cheat or wrongly quote repair charges to you.
2. Read up on your car make
It is always a good idea to be well-informed about the intricacies of your specific vehicle. By at least appearing knowledgeable on your next mechanic visit, the technician would think twice before DIY Auto Repair Manuals. To read up on your specific car make either refer to its factory manual or read up about it online from the manufacturer’s website or self-help websites. You should learn where all the components of your car are, how the oil filter and engine open, and which tires are the best for your car, among other things.
3. Always ask for a breakdown and proof
Many individuals make the mistake of dropping off their car at the mechanic’s and asking them to send over a bill whenever they are done with repairs. This gives your chosen technician more room to conduct unneeded repairs and undue maintenance works. For instance, while your brake pad may have some wear and need not be replaced just yet, your mechanic could quote a replacement in addition to the repair work that you brought your car for. Hence, always ask for a breakdown of all work that needs to be done upfront.
4. Do basic maintenance yourself
Some of the basic maintenance tasks for your vehicle that you can do yourself include changing the oil, replacing oil filters, replacing air filters, cleaning the engine, and checking tire pressure. Instead of spending a couple of hundred dollars every few months on these basic tasks, you can simply Service & Repair your equipment yourself by referring to online DIY resources and your vehicle’s factory manual. Doing so would put some of your knowledge to practical use, get you a chance to move around, and also save some money in the process.
5. Always ask back for your old parts
Certain mechanics that rank low on ethics tend to scam innocent individuals by informing them of replacements that need to be done, which in actuality are never performed. Hence, if your mechanic tells you that a certain part in your vehicle needs to be replaced be sure to let them know that you would be needing your old parts to take home with you. While this is a great way of exposing any ill-minded mechanics, it is also a great way of accumulating older spare parts and later on selling them for cash.
6. Always cross-check the prices
If your mechanic quotes you a certain price for a repair be sure to get a second opinion from another mechanic before agreeing to them beginning work on the task at hand. If you think getting a second opinion is too much work, simply search an online platform for price quotes and compare them with what your mechanic told you. While doing so be mindful of the fact that prices may differ substantially depending on the state that you live in. Such estimation websites make use of hourly wage rates, spare part costs, and other pertaining charges to arrive at an estimate.
It is always helpful to know a thing or two about your vehicle and is especially helpful whenever you have to visit the mechanic. By following the above-mentioned tips, you can be sure to avoid spending hundreds of dollars for work that could be done for free and be more knowledgeable about your vehicle in the process.