Most people have anxiety over entrusting their auto repairs to an auto repair shop, and for good reason. Horror stories abound about auto repair fraud and hundreds of dollars of unnecessary money spent by people who could not afford it. How does this happen so often?
It’s simple: most people don’t know enough about cars to know when they are being ripped off. If you fall into this group, then you don’t have to take a mechanics course to protect yourself from fraudulent charges.
Here are some tips for how to spot a dishonest auto repair shop:
Do your research
Knowledge is your best form of defense. There are some common fixes that you can easily identify yourself; for example, fault brakes and an oil leak are pretty simple problems that any layman can diagnose. Even more complex problems relay certain symptoms that you can research.
Whatever the case may be, sit down at your computer and research the specifics of your auto problem, including possible causes, fixes, parts, and labor costs. If you know someone who is handy with cars, ask about your particular circumstances to get a better idea of what kind of repair you may need. Do all of this before you head to the mechanic shop, so that you can really talk shop with the repairman (and spot dishonesty).
Replaced parts policy
Any reputable shop should be more than willing to give you the parts from your car that were replaced. If an auto mechanic does not volunteer you the allegedly faulty part for inspection (so that you can see just how damaged it is), then it’s possible that mechanic is being dishonest.
If you take your car in for a simple repair and the shop calls you to say they discovered a number of other things you “must” have repaired while your car is in the shop, then you need to be on guard for dishonesty. Additional repairs that were not initially diagnosed are called add-ons, and they may not be necessary. Before you sign on to pay for add-ons, do your research to find out of the problem is really as immediate as the mechanic would have you believe.