As each year goes by cars are getting more and more complex. This means that car owners are becoming less and less knowledgeable about their vehicles since new technologies are being introduced on the fly. With that in mind, more people are turning to auto repair shops to do the job for them.
Unfortunately, many auto repair shops take advantage of this situation. They’ll make customers pay extra service charges to replace car parts that were working normally. The customer wouldn’t know what parts were really broken and which ones could be swapped out for profit, right?
Of course there are some good auto shops out there but you can expect higher charges for their high quality and honesty. Midas, Meineke, and even Walmart Auto Service can charge slightly higher prices than a small local auto shop near home but in the end the investment is worth it.
If you’re going for the trusted names like those mentioned above, you can expect an honest price out of them. If you’re going for a domestic auto repair shop then you will want to follow these 5 tips to avoid getting cheated:
Tip #1 – Always Do Your Online Research
This is the first step everyone should take their time with. The Internet is always available so take a few minutes or even hours to research about all the local auto repair shops in town. List down all the ones near you and look online for reviews.
Read on comments boards, forums, local reviews, and more. See which auto repair shop garnered the most rewards, has the least amount of complaints, and has been in the business longer than their competition.
Tip #2 – Ask for Recommendations
You should ask your friends and family about the auto shops you just listed above. Try to get the most information from customers who have been going to the same shop over several years instead of getting the opinion of a one-time customer.
Ask how long they’ve been going to the same shop, how much the auto shop charges for common services and repairs, and what their experience was like each time.
Did they ever have to come back twice or thrice because of a bad job or does the auto shop hold up and get the repairs done the first time, every time?
Tip #3 – Always Ask Questions
When you do get to the auto shop, make sure you ask a lot of questions. Every time they say you need to repair a part, ask them why the old one broke or ask them to show you where it is specifically broken. Ask about new parts, brands, prices, and more.
The general rule of thumb is to ask the mechanics about everything they touch and everything they want to put into your car. Ask about every bit of detail regarding the written details of your final payment so you understand what you’re paying for and why you have to pay for it.
This can get annoying but it does help a lot. They won’t be able to cheat on you if you keep asking questions. Another good thing is that you’ll have all the information needed to do even more in-depth research on the internet.
Tip #4 – Stick Around and Show Interest
Bad mechanics will say a part is broken and needs replacement when it’s working perfectly fine. That’s why you want to ask questions. However, when there is something to work on you should also make it a point to be around and watch the mechanic do his or her job.
Make sure you request to see the problem. If there’s something broken and needs replacement, ask them to show it to you in action so you can verify that it really is the issue. You don’t want them tricking you just to make you cough up more cash.
If you can, bring a mechanically-inclined friend with you. Let him see what they’re doing and let him verify that there’s no cheating or unnecessary part replacements going on.
Tip #5 – Car Repair Insurance
Getting car repair insurance is one of the most sure-fire ways to avoid getting cheated. This is because it will require the auto repair shop to list down every problem of the car, every repair job done on it, and every part replaced.
The people working for the insurance company will go over these, making sure that everything is in its proper place. Insurance companies quickly identify anomalies and when they don’t, you can still use the insurance report against the auto shop.
Car repair insurance isn’t something to over-look. Even though average Maaco service prices and the fees at other auto repair shops aren’t all too expensive, it never hurts to have something covering your back. For just a few extra dollars you’ll have peace of mind and the assurance that every repair is done right.