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Car Mechanic Scams - Common Rip-Offs To Spot

Aug 17, 2007
Getting a quality job on a car repair isn't always easy. Unless you've found a mechanic that you can trust, it may seem as if they're all out to get you - and your wallet. Avoid some of these common mechanic rip-offs the next time you take your car or truck into the shop:

Insisting That You Only Take Your Car Back To The Dealer For Service/Repair:
Unless you need an "immediate" repair, most mechanics are fully capable of fixing any make or model vehicle. Most will accept warranties, recalls and post-warranty repairs covered under the manufacturer's good-will program. Dealer service can be quite pricey, and is only really necessary if you aren't willing to wait for a mechanic to order and receive a hard-to-find part.

Insist On Generic Maintenance Not Recommended By The Manufacturer:
Check your owner's manual for a listing of scheduled maintenance items your new vehicle needs, and watch out for any mechanic who insists on other add-ons to "keep your car in tip-top shape." The manufacturer who's actually made the car wants it to remain in great shape so you'll buy your next vehicle from them, so they'll be sure to list every service your car needs to stay in good repair, and a list of suggested maintenance times.

Getting It Wrong The First Time:
Some mechanics called "parts replacers," are experts at replacing one thing, only to discover that it was really another - more expensive - problem later. Sure, sometimes a mechanic gets it wrong, but when he does, make him justify why he missed the target and why he's sure he's right this time around. A reputable shop should offer either a refund or discount on the misdiagnosed repair.

Insisting That Some Cars Go Through Parts More Quickly Than Others:
If a newer part fails more quickly than it should, it may be the mechanics fault. He could have installed it incorrectly or used a damaged part. Sure, this can happen once in awhile, but if you notice a pattern, it may be time to find a new mechanic. Always insist on a refund and/or discount for the new work, when a part fails soon after being installed.

Insisting That They're Worth More:
It is true that top-flight parts may cost a bit more, but a mechanic who regularly charges 20 to 30 percent more for his repairs, may be overpriced. Periodically check around town to see what other garages charge for basic repairs, and be leery of those who charge much more.
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