As with any industry, there are going to be good and bad, honest and dishonest, reliable and unreliable; following these basic easy to follow tips when having auto repairs completed will minimize your chances of giving your business to one of the dishonest sorts.
Avoid Costly Repair Scams by being Proactive
The best time to locate a reputable mechanic is before you actually need their services. Spending the time to investigate, talk to, and review possible mechanic shops in your area as well as in the area of your office will provide you with convenient options for automotive repair services within the two areas that you spend the most of your time on a daily basis; should you have a breakdown.
In addition to having a couple of go to options handy for unexpected auto repair needs, you should regularly complete maintenance suggestions as set forth in the owner’s manual maintenance service guide to avoid costly repairs and breakdown situations.
When having routine maintenance work performed on your car, be cautious of any mechanic who attempts to pressure you into additional or unnecessary work without proof or an acceptable explanation.
You should expect your parts costs to all be somewhat close in price. However, when it comes to labor you will find a wide gap in what is charged from shop to shop.
Some facilities bill off of book; which means that they estimate the number of hours that it will take to complete a repair by following one of the three major labor guides available. You should verify which book they are using as a reference; the Chilton Labor Guide, Auto Labor Guide, or Automotive Labor Guide. Knowing which guide is being used provides you with the ability to double check that the quote is accurate.
You also want to confirm that their estimate is based on a straight book rate; or if the estimate is for “Real-Time Labor” which caps out at what the book estimate is in case the job takes longer than expected. What this means is that if the amount of time spent on the repair does not take as long as the book estimates, that you only pay for the actual time spent on the repair if it is lower than the estimated amount.
Look out for auto mechanics who veer off book substantially. Whereas going with someone who quotes you a much lower amount of time to complete a repair, or whose price is significantly lower than everyone else’s you may get a cheaper repair; however, you may end up paying for work that never gets completed, or be left without a vehicle for longer than expected due to repairs taking longer than estimated.
When having repairs completed, ask your mechanic to explain why each of the replaced parts, or performed repairs needed to be completed. Ask to inspect the parts that were removed. Doing these two things provides you with proof that the parts were bad, and an explanation of how any additionally replaced parts fits into the scope of the repair; preventing added charges for unneeded work.