Don’t Let an Auto Mechanic Take You to the Cleaners
Cars of fallible machines, and eventually they will break, breakdown, or fall apart, driving you to seek assistance from an automotive professional. And even though living without a workable mode of transportation is nearly impossible, the thought of dragging, pulling, or pushing your vehicle to a mechanic will fill your heart, mind, and soul with a sense of dread, worst case scenarios, and financial heartache—because well, you know it’s gonna get pricey.
It makes sense that an investment like a car requires repairs that cost a lot—but, that doesn’t mean you have to pay more than you should.
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The more you know, according to Kiplinger.com Associate Editor Jessica L. Anderson, will help you from getting swayed into unnecessary repairs.
“Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual—you’ll avoid unnecessary maintenance if you know what needs to be done at every service interval,” reports Anderson. “When choosing a repair shop, make sure the technicians are ASE certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.”
Since seeing is believing, the experts at USA Today recommend asking the mechanic to show you exactly what needs fixing.
And, it’s okay to shop around before signing the work order—this can give you time to do some research on your car’s problem and proposed repairs, according to the USA Today experts.
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“If you’re unsure about what you’re being told, go somewhere else. Don’t repeat what the other shop said; just provide the same information about the problem and see what the mechanic finds and what the shop will charge to fix it,” advises Anderson. “Before a repair, ask to see the part, where it goes and why it needs to be replaced, and then ask to see the old part after the repair is made. If you feel pressured to make a repair, walk away.”
Once you’ve been quoted the repair cost, do a little digging and compare rates online, and “beware of repairs using cheap replacement parts,” according to the experts at USA Today.
Anderson also recommends checking with your dealership if any of the repairs are part of a recall or covered by an existing warranty if you choose to have your car fixed at a different service center.