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.




Got something to say? Join the discussion »
  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.
    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.
    Reply Wednesday, July 19, 2017
  5. Michael Robinson's avatar Michael Robinson
    I absolutely appreciate how you mentioned that you should always get a second opinion when getting something worked on that requires money. My mom found some used tires online that she wanted to buy and went to go see them recently. When she did, she found out that the tires were not in good shape despite them repeatedly telling her they were. Just to be safe, it would be a good idea to call around to a couple different shops to make sure that you do not spend a fortune. Thanks again!
    Reply Tuesday, October 10, 2017
  6. Jack Titchener's avatar Jack Titchener
    Thanks for the tip on avoiding power steering flushes until about 100,000 miles. I'm not very car savvy so I can see how easy it would be for me to get ripped off. I should probably study up a little bit in my free time about when to get oil changes and things like that.
    Reply Thursday, October 12, 2017
  7. Auto Repair's avatar Auto Repair
    Auto Tech Center has the equipment and expertise to repair and maintain your automobile. Our emphasis is on transparency and professionalism. We pride ourselves on performing the highest quality automobile servicing as quickly and efficiently as possible - something all our customers appreciate.
    Reply Wednesday, October 18, 2017
  8. Kyle Wayne's avatar Kyle Wayne
    I like that you mention checking for up-to-date equipment. My brother is looking to find professional auto repair shops but needs tips. I'll be sure to talk to him about checking for new equipment.
    Reply Wednesday, November 29, 2017
  9. Michael's avatar Michael
    I really like what you had to say here about asking questions. Just like you further explained, you should talk to the mechanic about how long they have been a mechanic and where they got their certifications. My son is thinking about taking his car to the shop to get new tires, and I think that this information will be really important for him so that he can be taken care of by people who are able to do the work.
    Reply Tuesday, January 9, 2018
  10. Colin Riley's avatar Colin Riley
    When your vehicle needs repair then you need a reliable shop and mechanic. But it is important that you should go for a best auto repair shop, for this you should follow some important tips. You should check the warranty, to find the best auto repair shop you should ask your friend and relatives and they suggest best auto repair shop. Ask them all the question that related to your auto repair shop. If you want best auto repair service then you can refer this:

    Reply Sunday, March 4, 2018
  11. Arthur DeMarco's avatar Arthur DeMarco
    I think it's a great idea to look for certification in an auto body shop. Certifications are usually a good sign you can trust the holder to know what they're doing. I think in general most auto body shops are honest and fair but there's always some that make the caution necessary.
    Reply Thursday, March 15, 2018
  12. Ridley watson's avatar Ridley watson
    Thank you for sharing such an important and useful article which could be very helpful in saving a lot of money. We could find a reliable repairing shop which provides their service at a very affordable price. In order to find such a repairing center, we have to conduct a lot of research on the internet and choose the best one of that region. We could also ask our friends and family members for their valuable guidance. Apart from this, we could search the reviews of different customer on the website of different car repair shop and choose the best one according to the reviews. You may visit: in order to get better service at an affordable price.
    Reply Monday, March 19, 2018
  13. Jade young's avatar Jade young
    I like your suggestion of asking a lot of questions to the mechanics before selecting them. By doing so, we could find out their reliability. It is really essential to choose a certified technician, as they are technically best and has a lot of experience in such field. In order to find such a trusted and certified repairing center, we have to do a lot of research and choose the one which provides their service at an affordable price. We could also visits their physical address and conduct proper inquiry in order to find their reliability. ( has certified and experienced technicians.)
    Reply Wednesday, March 21, 2018
  14. Jordan's avatar Jordan
    My brother was talking to me about how he needs to get some transmission work done. I'm glad you talked about how you want to avoid paying extra for lifetime parts, because they don't last that long. I'm going to have to share this article with him and hopefully save him some money!
    Reply Monday, April 30, 2018
  15. Burt Silver's avatar Burt Silver
    I agree and think that I should ask a lot of questions too because this will help me to get to know the mechanic and find out how well versed their knowledge is in the industry and if they know what they are talking about. My car has been having issues and I'm suspecting it to be the transmission. I'll have to get in touch with an auto mechanic and find out what I can do to get good repairs and ask questions so that I know they are providing a quality service.
    Reply Thursday, May 3, 2018
  16. Heidi Bookenstock's avatar Heidi Bookenstock
    My brother has a 16-year-old son who just got his license and saved up to buy a used car. My brother is trying to teach his son responsibility, so he's having his son take initiative when it comes to car maintenance and repairs. Obviously, being only 16, he doesn't know where to start, so it's very fortunate that this article is so informative. The part about not giving in to scare tactics is very important, especially to a 16-year-old, just dipping is toes into adult responsibilities, which can be a little intimidating.
    Reply Wednesday, May 9, 2018
  17. Sonny's Collision Specialist's avatar Sonny's Collision Specialist
    This is very good. We, car owners always ensure that we're on the right track when dealing with our own car issues . Thanks for this information.
    Reply Thursday, May 24, 2018
  18. Derek Dewitt's avatar Derek Dewitt
    My wife and I are looking for a new mechanic in town ever since moving, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about getting name-brand parts. I want to ensure the parts are built to last, so I'll be sure to ask about this.
    Reply Tuesday, June 5, 2018
  19. Coolant flush's avatar Coolant flush
    It is really necessary to select a reliable repairing shop to repair the vehicle. Experienced and certified professionals have in-depth knowledge regarding such field. So, it is also necessary to know the certification of professionals before hiring them. Referrals from friends and family members could be very useful to find such an experienced and certified professional. You may like to visit:
    Reply Thursday, June 21, 2018
  20. Jordan lopez's avatar Jordan lopez
    Repairing center which have certified and experienced professionals and provides their service at an affordable price should be selected to repair a damaged vehicle. Vehicle needs maintenance at a regular interval to run smoothly. The condition of different components of the vehicle should be inspected at a regular interval and damaged components should be repaired or replaced immediately by experienced professionals. However, one should be very careful while selecting a repairing center. Visit:
    Reply Wednesday, July 4, 2018

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