Monday, August 29, 2016

15 Tips for Making Sure You Don’t Get Scammed by an Auto Repair Shop

Here is a list of 15 tips you should pay attention to when you take your vehicle in for repair or maintenance. Learn the signs of a dishonest auto repair shop and avoid unscrupulous auto mechanics.

1.    Scare Tactics

 Don’t buy into scare tactics. Statements like “I wouldn’t drive this car another mile” may be a red flag. If you were able to drive the vehicle to the shop, it most likely will make it at least as far as another mechanic shop for a second opinion.

 2.    Questions

 Ask a lot of questions. Find out how long the mechanic has been in business and ask for alternate recommendations. Professional mechanics are happy to answer your questions and give you an idea of the mechanic industry in your area.

 3.    Up-To-Date Equipment

 Find out what type of equipment they use and look for shops using modern equipment. Avoid mechanics that don’t use computerized diagnostic equipment; you want an accurate, provable diagnosis of your problem if at all possible.

 4.    Mechanic Certification

 Look for proof of mechanic training and certification. Reputable shops are happy to display their ASE, National Institute for Automotive Excellence or American Automobile Association certification.

 5.    Signed Work Order

 NEVER EVER sign a blank authorization form. This may seem obvious, but sometimes when it comes to your car it’s easy to succumb to pressure tactics. Always make sure to get a signed work order with a specific estimate for the work that is to be done and any warranties that will apply.

 6.    Synthetic Motor Oil Lasts Longer

Stay away from mechanics who don’t recommend synthetic motor oil. It may cost a bit more but it lasts longer (and prevents unnecessary labor fees in the future.)

 7.    Get a Second Opinion

 Get a second – or third – estimate. And when you go for your follow-up estimates, don’t reveal the quote given you by the first (and second) mechanic.

 8.    Lube Shop Scams

 Beware of gimmicky recommendations at quick lube shops. A common scam is to try to get you to succumb to coolant and power steering flushes when many cars don’t need them until 100,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to make sure what your manufacturer recommends. Also, watch out for cleaning fuel injectors; buy-it-yourself additives do a fine job.

 9.    High-Quality Brake Jobs are Worth it

 Cheap brake jobs usually mean low-quality brake pads which could mean a brake failure. It’s worth it to pay for original quality brake pads (or equivalent.)

 10. Make Sure Your Tire Re-Treads are Weather-Worthy

 Sometimes tire shops will try to sell old re-treads that are not going to be safe in bad weather. Make sure the initial build on the tires was no more than 2 years ago.  And before investing in new tires make sure yours really need replacing. Find out what your state’s tread specifications are and ask the mechanic to measure the old tread before buying new tires.

 11. Don’t Pay Extra for “Lifetime Mufflers”

 Mufflers won’t last a lifetime. And even if the shop agrees to replace your muffler for free in the future, they’ll charge you for expensive pipe repairs.

 12. You May be Entitled to a Free Replacement of Catalytic Converters and Emission Parts

 Don’t pay a mechanic to work on your catalytic converter or emission parts without checking with your dealer or manufacturer. Some of these items carry a long warranty and free replacement is often required by law.

 13. Ask for Your Old Parts Back

 Make sure your old parts were really in need of replacement – and were indeed replaced – by asking and inspecting the old part.

 14. Don’t Take No for an Answer

 No, your engine light shouldn’t be on all the time. And it isn’t “probably a loose gas cap.” If something seems fishy, it probably is. If the check engine light is on there is most likely a reason and you should find out what that reason is.

 15.  Buy Parts Made in the U.S.A.

 The market is being flooded with cheap parts from overseas. Ask for name-brand parts and ask to see the box. Your life and those of your family may depend on having quality replacement parts.

 

 

Comments

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  1. EEE Auto Service's avatar EEE Auto Service
    When having a transmission flush done to your vehicle, don't forget to replace the filter and get the right transmission fluid for your car. You can always google your type of car to make sure how much transmission fluid you need. We deal with a lot of transmission flushing services at our shop, an Auto Repair in Tracy. Hopefully this free tip helps!
    Reply Monday, January 16, 2017
  2. EEE Auto Service's avatar EEE Auto Service
    When having a transmission flush done to your vehicle, don't forget to replace the filter and get the right transmission fluid for your car. You can always google your type of car to make sure how much transmission fluid you need. We deal with a lot of transmission flushing services at our shop, an Auto Repair in Tracy. Hopefully this free tip helps!
    Reply Monday, January 16, 2017
  3. Ridley's avatar Ridley
    You have some great tips for making sure you get good service at an auto shop. I like how you said that it's smart to get a second or third estimate on any repairs. Even if it is an emergency, I think it's smart to ask around. http://evansauto.com/repair
    Reply Tuesday, May 30, 2017
  4. Maxine Wilson's avatar Maxine Wilson
    We just moved to a new area, and we need to find a mechanic. We have a history of car issues, and the last thing I was is to have an issue, and not know where to take it. I like what you suggested about checking for certification. It's good to know that they should have it on display. http://www.foleyautoandrvrepair.net/
    Reply Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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