How to Avoid Getting Taken for a Ride by your Mechanic

Americans collectively spend a total of $36 billion dollars per year on automotive repairs, reported the Los Angeles Times. Even in today’s tight economy, car repair shops still see brisk business from customers in need.

You might be rather car-savvy yourself, but have you ever wondered if your mechanic knew something you didn’t about your car repairs? The following sheds a little light on some of the things that your mechanic doesn’t want you to know and would rather not tell you.

Biased Second Opinions

Although the average auto repair is somewhere around $367.84, according to CarMD, there are plenty of repairs that could cost thousands of dollars in parts and labor. This makes getting a second opinion valuable – but you don’t want to tell the mechanic what the first diagnosis was and the estimate given. With that information, a mechanic could try to squeeze in extra costs and be less than honest about the true problem.

Extinguishing Check Engine Lights

Some mechanics don’t have the knowledge or the tools to read the On-Board Diagnostics codes relating to your “Check Engine” light issue. Nevertheless, they may try to convince you to let them “clear the codes” or do something else to see what’s happening. Having the right equipment is the only way a mechanic can properly diagnose such symptoms. If a mechanic tells you he doesn’t need to read those codes, then you probably should go someplace else.

CarMD notes that the most common “Check Engine” light-related repair is the oxygen sensor, at an average repair cost of $293.88.

Don’t Forsake That Warranty

If you own a used car, your mechanic might convince you that it doesn’t have a warranty or that your repair might not be covered. On the contrary, most dealerships offer warranties for their used and certified pre-owned offerings. For instance, DriveTime’s selection of used cars in Albuquerque features lengthy limited warranties covering most drivetrain issues.

The Old/New Parts Switcheroo

Some less-than-honest mechanics have no qualms about putting used replacement parts in your car. This is why you should always ask for your old parts back. This way, you’ll rest easier knowing they’ve been changed.

Beware the Upsell

In a recent survey, Consumer Reports noted that more than 38 percent of respondents who were less than satisfied with their car repairs said that the price was too high. It’s also why 34 percent of respondents stopped using a repair shop.

Chances are they were pressured into an upsell by the mechanic, whether it was for preventative maintenance or for accessories they didn’t need. The important thing is to not be pressured into buying a service or a part on the spot. Step back, let the pressure subside and then decide for yourself on your own terms.

If you want a true picture of car repair costs, there are plenty of apps that can help you do just that. For instance, RepairPal Auto Repair Expert app for the iPhone not only delivers accurate and unbiased repair and service estimates, but it also helps you track your repairs and find excellent repair shops via its GPS-enabled repair shop directory.