How Not To Get Ripped Off by your Auto Mechanic

Is your mechanic pulling a fast one? Do your homework and find a mechanic you can trust to make sure you’re getting the most out of each service appointment.

By Patricia Lo Curto Wheels.ca

May 11, 2015 3 min. read

Article was updated 9 years ago

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Next to your home, your vehicle is the most expensive possession you own. All the more reason to make sure you keep it in tiptop shape. Routine check ups at the service bay are a must, which is even more of a reason to make sure you find an honest and reliable mechanic you can trust. Here’s how you can keep repair costs at a minimum and feel good about your next service appointment.

Ask questions

Be curious. Ask the mechanic to explain what exactly will be done to your vehicle when bringing it in for service, how it works, and how long the repairs will take. This will start a conversation consisting of simple questions they should easily be able to answer. If they start stumbling or talking in circles, that’s a surefire sign something is not quite right.

Car owner talking to auto Mechanic

Shop around

Car repairs can be expensive and can vary drastically from shop to shop. Take some time and shop around. Get as many quotes as possible, usually 3-4 is a good estimate, especially if it’s a more expensive repair like brake replacement or shopping for new tires. The easiest way to do this is by calling and explaining the issue or going online and comparing prices.

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Get an estimate in writing

Mechanics should not be working on your car before consulting you. To be on the safe side, why not put that conversation in writing? By having all services being performed on your vehicle listed in writing, it eliminates any unforeseen or additional last minute charges. Also, a proper estimate should include a cost breakdown so you know exactly how much an oil change costs versus a transmission repair.

Check your warranty agreement

A warranty can be a very beneficial asset in certainly costly situations and can help you save thousands of dollars in the long run. Make sure you review your warranty agreement in detail so you know exactly what you’re covered for. This may be one of those times where it’s better to bring your car to your dealership where they will honour your warranty than trying to scope out a better deal at a local garage.
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Conduct a background check

Ask around. This may sound obvious but is often overlooked, especially when you’re in a hurry and have many other errands to check off on that to-do list. Reach out to friends, family and coworkers and ask for their opinion on reputable local service shops they’ve used and would recommend. Checking out reputable car sites online and message boards is also a surefire way to find out what customers are really saying about that business.
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