18 Feb Auto Repair for Dummies: How to Avoid Scams and Being Ripped Off
Next to your home, your car is probably the second most important and most expensive material possession that you own. This is why when it starts having problems, it’s important to get auto repair services as soon as possible. Not only will it help maintain the value of your car, it also prevents the problem from getting worse and resulting in an expensive repair bill.
When taking your car to a repair shop, however, make sure that you don’t fall prey to repair scams. Here are some tips on how you can avoid them.
1. Ask a lot of questions – Not all repair shops are the same. While there are repair companies that are reputable and known for offering quality services, there are also some whose main objective is just to make money by any means necessary. To avoid being scammed by unscrupulous mechanics, you should ask a lot of questions. Ask the mechanic to explain what exactly will be done to your car. They should be able to easily provide answers to simple questions. If they start talking in circles, that’s a good indication that something isn’t right.
2. Keep a record of your previous car repairs – Keep your own log of what service has been performed on your car and when. If another mechanic starts recommending a job that you know a previous mechanic has worked on before, it’s a clear sign that they haven’t thoroughly checked your vehicle and may be thinking of finding ways to inflate your repair bill.
3. Get a written estimate – Reliable mechanics don’t start work on your car without your tacit approval. To avoid hidden fees or unnecessary work done on your vehicle, put your conversation with the mechanic in writing. Always get a written estimate before letting the mechanics touch your car. This way, you can eliminate any unforeseen or additional last-minute charges.
4. Watch out for any attempts to up-sell – If your car simply needs routine maintenance, you should be wary of any attempts of the mechanic to up-sell. Make sure that you don’t get anything your car doesn’t need. To avoid being ripped off, you should be familiar with your manufacturer’s service intervals and what kind of car servicing is recommended for your vehicle.
5. Observe – If possible, watch what is being done on your car. Most reputable repair shops have windows connecting the work bays and waiting area. This allows customers to observe freely and see what the car mechanics are doing with their respective vehicles.