If you don’t know much about cars, walking into a greasy auto shop can be intimidating but if you want to avoid getting ripped off at the repair shop, you need to do your homework. There are plenty of shops out there who take advantage of customers, especially women, because they assume women do not know about cars
Unfortunately, overcharging and taking advantage of customers unfamiliar with cars often feels rampant in the auto repair world. If you don’t know what to expect, you can be a victim of poor service.
To empower yourself about your particular car, read your owner’s manual. Then, open the hood and get familiar with what’s there. Teach yourself to check fluid levels: oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. Remember Knowledge is a big key here.
Here are five questions to ask your mechanic next time you pay a visit to an auto repair shop.
1- Ask to give you a written estimate
Don’t rely on a word of mouth estimate, especially one that’s given over the phone without the mechanic even inspecting your vehicle. Many mechanics will give you a free estimate, which is great, but always get the repair quote in writing. The estimate should include: Parts, Labor, Taxes and any Discounts.
2- Ask to Show you where the problem is
Asking to see the problem is an easy way to catch out a mechanic that might be trying to rip you off. If there is a genuine problem, your mechanic will be happy to show you the defect and explain what needs to be done to fix it. Although not all problems can be visibly seen (like electrical faults), you should always ask anyway and talk through your options.
3- Ask for your Old part
Asking that the old part be placed in the box for the new part. This confirms the old part was removed and the new part installed. Unfortunately, there are some unethical mechanics who may try to charge you for work not done correctly, and it could end up costing you double if you have to pay for the repair all over again. Asking for your parts back will help ensure that the mechanic is being held accountable for doing the repair and will also give you that added peace of mind and confirmation that the part replacement and work were done to your car.
4- Ask if Is there any warranty on repairs
If your mechanic offers a good warranty on the repairs they make, it’s likely that they are confident they can complete repairs correctly and to a high standard.
5- Ask for repair options and how urgent you need the repairs.
Most car issues have more than one solution. Some mechanics, however, may route you into the most expensive one by not fully explaining your other choices. Ask about all potential routes, and make sure your mechanic explains each one thoroughly. Not every driver is an automotive expert, and that’s OK! Don’t feel embarrassed to ask lots of questions. It’s your mechanic’s job to help you understand the ins-and-outs of your car and help you make the most informed decision.