Ever received a car repair bill and suspect you may have been taken for a ride? You took your car in for a simple oil change only to be told you needed additional, totally unexpected and expensive work done. Every day, people are taken advantage of this way. It’s estimated nine out of ten women believe they’re targeted due to their gender.
Let’s fight back! Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
1. Do your homework. Do some checking ahead of time by reading a car care guide for your make and model. In it you will discover some basic repairs so you can know what questions to ask the mechanic.
2. Use your senses. When describing your car’s problem to your mechanic, use your senses. Tell how the car “feels” to you or if you have been hearing certain abnormal sounds. What this does is let him know you’ve been paying attention to your car’s needs.
3. Check your warranty. Be careful of paying too much for your auto repair needs. Check with your automobile dealership to make sure your repairs aren’t still covered by a warranty. If you choose to take your car to an independent business the parts may be covered by the warranty, but you will most likely need to pay them for the actual cost of fixing it.
4. Get a second opinion. If you still aren’t sure if you’re being taken advantage of, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. And for goodness sake, don’t tell the second mechanic what the first mechanic said was wrong with your car. Wait for the diagnosis from the second one and how much it will cost.
5. Ask to see the part. If you’re still uneasy, you can always ask to look at the part, where exactly it is in the car and why they believe it needs replacement. And ask them to show you the old part once the replacement has been done.
6. Run away. If you sense any sort of pressure from the auto repair shop to have your car fixed for things you never knew were wrong with it, walk away as fast as you can. Your good sense and intuition will often be your two best friends in these situations.
A good, honest mechanic will be certified and licensed, have a nice clean garage and communicative employees who can look you in the eye. Two more important things to look for are a written estimate for all the work to be done and, after the work is done, a complete invoice showing the charges for parts and labor.
None of us is born with the knowledge of how our automobiles work. We just want them to get us safely to our destination. But it would behoove us to be as familiar with them as possible. That way, when an unscrupulous auto repair person does cross our path, we’ll be able to back away from them as fast as we can.