5 Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed by an Auto Mechanic
When your car breaks down, you want to get it fixed and back on the road right away. Most of us rely heavily on our car, and being without it for even a single day is a big inconvenience.
When you do suffer an unexpected breakdown, you depend on a mechanic to fix your car properly and charge you fairly for parts and labor. Unfortunately, some mechanics are less than honest, and you need to keep your eyes open and wits about you to avoid getting taken for a ride. Here are some tips you can use to avoid car repair rip-offs.
1. Insist that the Mechanic Gives You an Up-Front Estimate
Never drop your car off at the mechanic and give them carte blanche to fix your car. Instead, ask the mechanic to evaluate the vehicle while you’re there and give you an estimate of the repair bill.
It’s also a good idea to insist that the mechanic call you and get your permission if the actual cost is more than the estimate you were given. This is the best way to avoid being overcharged, and the heads-up will give you a chance to make an intelligent and informed decision.
2. Ask the Mechanic for Your Old Parts
Some dishonest mechanics will charge for parts replacements they never actually performed. The best way to expose this scam and avoid this kind of rip-off is to always insist on taking your old parts with you after servicing.
When your mechanic calls to tell you which parts need to be replaced, let them know you will want the old parts. That could be enough to discourage a less-than-ethical auto mechanic from overcharging you on parts.
3. Brush Up on Basic Auto Mechanics
It’s much harder for a shady mechanic to rip-off customers who know their way around a car. If you don’t know which end of the dipstick goes into the engine, that dishonest mechanic will see you coming a mile away. Taking the time to learn about your car and how it works is the best way to protect yourself.
You don’t have to take an automotive class to gain this knowledge. Just grab your owner’s manual, open the hood and familiarize yourself with the parts you see. The more you know, the harder it will be to get ripped off.
4. Ask Friends and Family for Mechanic Referrals
The best defence against getting ripped-off by a mechanic is to find one you can trust. If you do not have a regular mechanic, ask family, friends and coworkers who they use and if they’re happy with the service they receive.
The best mechanics rely on word-of-mouth to get new customers. They know that treating drivers fairly is the best long-term business strategy, and they work hard to provide good value and excellent car repairs for everyone they work with.
5. Double-Check the Price of New Auto Parts
If the price of a replacement part seems unreasonably high, call the dealer or check online to make sure it’s correct. Some mechanics try to inflate their bills by overcharging customers for parts, so checking prices independently is the best way to protect yourself.
Don’t be afraid to confront the mechanic if you think you’ve been overcharged for parts. You have a right to quality service and fair prices whenever you get your car repaired.