Be aware that when you go into a car repair service with your car in tow, the owner of the establishment sees the dollar $ign painted all over your face. You are there to see what’s wrong with your car and have it run again, not to be cheated.
The Common Attitude of a Car Repair Service
This is not true to all and Pep Boys fuel system services is among the exceptions. But unfortunately, a major number of car repair service centers have this approach – milk every customer as they possibly can. You need to understand that there is very little margin for profit for this kind of business. To stay afloat, their owners have to resort to dishonest means.
What You Need to Know About Car Repairs
You need to be aware of the tricks of the trade so that you can deflect any effort of the car repair service to have you pay for more than what is necessary.
1. Free diagnosis of ‘check engine light’
If the ‘check engine light’ of your car is on, some repair centers will offer a free check-up. That diagnosis is free, but what they will come up with might not be. This is just another way for them to cheat you out of your money.
2. Charging too much for spare parts
Most car repair shops put markups on car spare parts. It is better for you to get the needed car parts from the manufacturer to save money on repairs.
3. Spraying oil on your shock absorbers
One of the ploys of dishonest service centers is to spray oil on the car’s shock absorbers to make it look that the hydraulic fluid is leaking.
4. Recommending several automatic transmission flushes
Service supervisors may advise you to change your automatic transmission fluid if you’ve driven the car for more than 12,000 miles. If the owner’s manual says you only do it at 80,000 miles, that’s the one you need to follow.
5. Recommending for rotors to be ‘turned’
It is common that when you go for a brake job, the service attendant will recommend to have your rotors turned saying that they are already grooved. If you have an expensive car, this could easily set you back for $50 each rotor.
Car service centers profit handsomely from these jobs, but they are completely unnecessary.
Some car experts say that new brake pads adapt almost instantly to the rotor’s surface, no matter what its condition is. Additionally, turning it cuts off an important piece of metal making the brakes vulnerable to warping because of hot temperatures.
6. Recommending early brake repairs
The service advisor may say that your brakes have only 50 per cent of their pads left and they need to be replaced for safety purposes. Don’t worry. Your brakes are still perfectly alright.
You can still drive your car safely until there are just about 15 to 20 per cent of the pads left in them. To determine how much more they can be safely used, count the miles you’ve driven since your last brake pad job and return to the car shop when you think you have driven that many miles more.
7. Doing the oversell
If you go for an oil change, be prepared for the service advisor’s oversell approach. This is his chance to sell you their additional services such as brake servicing, transmission servicing, wheel alignment and so forth. Be firm but gentle in saying you only need an oil change.
8. Recommending excessive oil changes
There is a right interval for changing the engine oil of your car, and every 3,000 miles may not be required for your car. It will waste your money, not considering the source where it came from.
Be prepared for car shops selling you this idea, but stick to the recommended oil change schedule indicated in your owner’s manual. And always watch your dashboard for a signal light that tells you when to change the engine oil.
9. Complete Inspection Scam
Upon checking, the service attendant may say your car has too many miles on it; therefore, it needs to be inspected thoroughly. Don’t agree for if you do, they will search for all the things that they could repair, even those that are not really necessary.
Keep in mind that there’s no car repair shop that will give your car a clean bill of health, if you allow them to determine the repair services it needs.
10. Service schedules recommended by dealers
When you go for simple change oil or tire rotation service, the supervisor may talk you into considering their ‘dealer recommendation’ offer. This offer may look pretty impressive, a bit complicated and very important-sounding.
But don’t be hoodwinked. These repair services are not really necessary. To be safe, ready your owner’s manual before going in to the car repair shop, and check what is really necessary for your car’s oil change.