Let’s say your car breaks down. It’s a problem that all of us have experienced at least once in our lives, and that many of us have come out of with a much lighter wallet. Luckily, Repair Jungle has some tips to help you get the most out of car repairs without spending more than you ought to.
5 Ways to Avoid being Overcharged on Car Repair
1. Be Wary of Chain Stores
Sometimes your car’s problems are outside your own capabilities as a mechanic and you find yourself in need of some professional help. But as convenient as that Jiffylube down the street seems, perhaps you should reconsider before dropping your car off there.
Chain stores offer a kind of security – to be nationally recognized, they must have some sort of guarantee of quality, right? While this is generally true, many chain stores hire inexperienced or newbie mechanics that don’t have the expertise an older mechanic from an independent shop may have. Before checking your car in at a chain store, take a quick look around to make sure there isn’t a better option.
2. Get a Second Opinion
Before getting your car repaired, you should always, always get a second opinion. What might be obvious to one mechanic may not be as apparent to the other. In order to make sure that you don’t end up getting an unnecessary or faulty repair, it’s always worth it to have more than one mechanic give you an estimate.
Getting a second opinion can also help you find out whether or not certain repairs are necessary. An unreputable mechanic may try to trick you into paying for repairs that your car doesn’t need, or talk you into replacing parts that are still functioning perfectly fine. By having somebody else inspect your car as well, you can make sure that you aren’t being scammed into paying more than you need to.
3. Flag Unnecessary Repairs
While it’s completely possible that your car may be experiencing multiple problems at once, it’s always a good idea to be wary when a mechanic brings up further repairs while inspecting your car. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request detailed explanations of services that your mechanic deems necessary.
If he tries to dodge questions or gives you vague answers, then it’s time to be suspicious. A decent mechanic will take the time to answer and explain exactly why certain repairs are necessary. This is also a good approach to take whenever you suspect that you’re being overcharged for any service in particular.
4. Scheduled Maintenance
It’s important that you treat your car the same way you would anything with complex internal mechanisms. Just as it’s vital that you regularly maintain your own health, your car also needs to receive scheduled maintenance in order to ensure its healthy working condition. Make sure that you regularly get your tires inspected, oil changed, etc in order to avoid problems that could have easily been prevented with a little extra care. Regularly maintaining your car can also help catch problems before they really escalate. The DMV has a pamphlet on things to check for when doing maintenance that you can access here.
5. Educate Yourself
In the end, having a basic knowledge of how your car works is the surest way to avoid being overcharged by your mechanic. It might be tough to learn the ins and outs of your vehicle’s mechanisms, but it’ll pay off in the end. By educating yourself, it’ll be much easier to understand whatever trouble your car might be experiencing. You’ll also know enough to call out any mechanic who tries to push unnecessary services onto you.
If you still have your car’s owner’s manual lying around somewhere, it would be well worth your time to give it a quick read when you’re able to. If not, you may be able to find it here.