Mechanics have been getting a bad reputation for years, and it’s unfortunate. While the majority will do a good job and have your best interests in mind, there is still a good chunk who will have no problem robbing you blind. They will create imaginary issues, or even cause some of them themselves. Some will recognize your inexperience and try to upsell you on stuff you don’t need. This is why you have to do your homework before you work with anybody, and don’t go with the first people you come across. Here are a few tips for avoiding getting ripped off when going to a mechanic.
Go to a Specialist
If you have a specific issue, go with a specialist. There are tire auto repair services that specialize in tire replacement and sales, and might also be better equipped to deal with alignment issues. This is the type of company you want to see if you have a problem specifically with tires, or something like a differential, for instance. They are more likely to do a good job, and they will often have better deals than others since they can buy in larger quantities.
Get at Least 3 Estimates
You might come across one or two crooks, but if three different people recommend the same thing, then it’s probably needed. You can then gather quotes for these specific issues and compare them. You also never want to give a mechanic a blank check to do whatever they want with the vehicle. You want a clear estimate upfront before they start working. The mechanic must also agree to contact you first if they think the final costs will be higher than the estimate.
Offer to Buy the Parts
Mechanics will usually charge you for parts and labor, and sometimes, they will go a little bit heavy on the parts. Test them by offering to buy the parts yourself. Do your research on the specific part(s) that you need, and ask them to do a new estimate. You might also want to check if you could get the parts used or salvage them from another vehicle.
Ask to Leave with Your Parts
Another thing with parts is that a mechanic can claim that they changed them, but never did. This is something that could fool anyone, even people who know vehicles pretty well. This is why you must insist to get your old parts back when done. This should be enough to discourage dishonest mechanics.
Learn the Basics
You don’t need to take a whole class, but it would be wise to have a basic understanding of how vehicles work, or at least come with someone who does. If they notice that you don’t even know half of the parts they’re talking about, they might take advantage of it. This is why you should try to learn the major components of your vehicle and know your way around your car.
Getting ripped off is not and shouldn’t be the norm. You can’t afford to drop your guard, so take the steps necessary to not get taken advantage of.