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5 Steps to Avoid Being Ripped Off by a Mechanic

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What You Need to Do When Dropping Your Car Off for Service

Follow Our Advice to Avoid Being Ripped Off by a Mechanic

We certainly don’t believe all service centers and dealerships are out to cheat you, and we actually promise that most take pride in their values and work ethic. What we do know though, is that one rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch. Unfortunately, the anxiety level among consumers when it comes to servicing or repairing their cars is high. Luckily, as with anything, the more you know, the better off you are. Here are some tips to make sure you avoid being ripped off by a mechanic on future car repairs and maintenance.

  1. Buy your car’s service/repair manual. Typically available at major auto parts stores, this will help you to research and understand what your mechanic or service technician is talking about.
  2. Check for recalls associated with your car. Typically, if it’s safety-related or you’re having an issue with a newer car, you might find that there is a recall for that specific problem, and the manufacturer will pick up the bill. You should receive recall notices in the mail, but you can also periodically check the NHTSA site.
  3. Check the Better Business Bureau. Check with your local BBB to see if any complaints have been filed against the dealership or repair shop you are considering for your car’s care.
  4. Get a repair estimate in advance. When dropping your car off, let the service technician know that you’d like a quote before they begin working on the repairs and to call you for authorization before they do any additional work.
  5. Check around.  Once you have an estimate, take your car to another service center or dealership to get a second opinion, and make sure the price is similar. It certainly doesn’t hurt, and you’ll know quickly if something doesn’t seem right.

Education is the single most effective way for you to feel confident when dropping your car off for service. The more you know, the more easily you can avoid being ripped off by a mechanic during your next service visit.

We want to know: have you ever been ripped off when servicing your car, or have you had mostly positive experiences when dealing with technicians?