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How To Avoid Rip-Offs At An Auto Repair Shop

Feb 10, 2008
It's certain that you're not a fan of taking your car to the mechanic to get it repaired. However, this is something that has to be done and it not only costs you time, but money as well. Not only that, in the back of your mind you're wondering if the mechanic is doing what needs to be done or if he's just out for money. There are some out there who will take you for a ride, no pun intended.

Before you take your vehicle in to a repair shop, get referrals and recommendations from others who have been there. They can tell you whether or not the service lived up to their expectations. Using word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. Usually people will be truthful with you about their experience, whether it was good or bad.

Take note of auto repairs shops that advertise cheap prices for things like oil changes and a freebie for a brake check. This is one way some mechanics will try to get over on you. They will purposely look for ways to find things they claim need to be repaired prior to you leaving the auto shop. Then, you'll end up paying additional money you were not expecting to dish out. It just goes to show you that "free" isn't really free without strings attached.

Know what kind of parts the mechanic is using on your vehicle. Find out what the markup is on them. Some auto shops swear by using the manufacturer's original parts for vehicles. They can still use parts that are not made by the manufacturer and still get the vehicle repaired. Parts that are not made by the manufacturer are cheaper, but the markup wouldn't be great for the mechanic.

The mechanic can charge you more by not using spare parts. This is how they make their money. You can always ask them about the markup just to get their response. There is no law against you asking and no law against him providing you with an answer. However, if you don't have a good feeling about it and you're not getting satisfactory answers, here are some additional things you can do to get more clarification:

* You can ask to see what work has been completed on your vehicle. Ask them to allow you to see what you were charged for. If you're paying for this, you have every right to know what's going on with your vehicle.

* Ask the mechanic to show you the old part(s). You can check it against the new part to make sure it's legitimate.

* Do a test with other mechanics in the auto repair shop. Take a peek and ask another person how they repaired other vehicles. They may think you're weird for asking, but it's your money and vehicle that you trust them with to repair properly.

If you still don't feel as though the mechanic performed up to snuff and overcharged you, ask more questions and even get management involved if need be. This is your vehicle and the last thing you need is someone trying to overcharge you for unnecessary work or parts.
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