Have you ever gone to an auto repair shop for an oil change, only to have the mechanic say your car needs a new transmission? Let’s face it. Most of us have very little car knowledge and experience. So whenever you have to make that oil change for your car, chances are that the mechanic will be bringing up a whole set of issues hitherto unheard of.
Most mechanics are honest, hardworking people who only want to help you by pointing out problems you may not know about. But there can be some shady mechanics who want to take you and your wallet for a ride.
We want to protect you from overpaying for parts and repairs you don’t even need. Therefore, we have made a list of things/issues that you should be aware of before taking your vehicle for service.
Have you heard your mechanic say “well, this is the part you need replaced, but to get to that, we have to take this out, and that thing under there is broken, we have to replace that part as well, put in all new gaskets, and refill the fluid”? Yeah, that’s probably not true, and you’re probably getting tricked into paying for extra parts and labour. It’s always good to get a second opinion in such cases.
This is one of the biggest signs that you could be dealing with a shady mechanic. A great mechanic will never try to scare you into buying expensive services.
Phrases like “I Wouldn’t Drive That Car too far off” are intended to scare you into leaving your car there or to get you to authorize a repair. Mechanics know that most people don’t know stuff about their vehicles, so they prey on your fears that you’ll not want to break down on the side of the road. If they know that you’ll fall for this, then they know they have a great chance to overcharge you for a bunch of repairs you don’t need. Again it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion in such cases.
Get a Work Estimate:
Even if you think your mechanic is true to his work, you still want to get a written estimate regarding the services that will be performed on your car. Never sign a blank work authorization – a shady mechanic can take advantage of this by performing unnecessary services, and scamming you.
You should also make sure that your repairs are covered by a warranty. Make sure that the warranty is stated clearly somewhere in the terms of your service agreement.
Some mechanics may try to sell you the cheapest brands when it’s time to replace some your vehicle parts. But it’s not always a good idea to skimp and get the cheapest parts, especially when you want the best for your vehicle. For most major auto parts, it is best to stick to OEM parts as these parts are issued directly from the manufacturer.
Now, there may be times when you don’t want to use OEM parts for smaller repairs like headlights or brake pad replacements. And that’s usually fine – but OEM parts should always be an option if you request them.
If your mechanic doesn’t offer any OEM parts at all, they may be using lower-quality aftermarket parts, charging you a surplus, and then pocketing the profit.
Return of the Old Parts:
This may sound awkward, but it’s a good way to guarantee that your mechanic is actually doing the work that they claim to be doing. You can’t use your old parts – but if your mechanic actually replaced those parts, they’ll have no problem giving them back to you.
But if your mechanic refuses to give your old parts back, that could mean they were never removed in the first place – and that they weren’t actually in need of repairs. They were just scamming you the whole time.
Explanations must be provided:
Auto mechanics are professional people. It’s their job to translate difficult mechanical automobile issues into laymen terms – and explain to car owners what the problem is, and why it needs to be fixed.
This is why you should be very wary of any mechanic who brushes off questions about repairs with answers like “it’s hard to explain”, “it’s very complicated” or “you wouldn’t understand”.
You’re going to be paying money – potentially a lot of money – to this person to repair your car. Unless they can explain what’s going to be done to it and why, you shouldn’t trust them.
Therefore, if possible you should be using a mechanic that has been recommended by somebody who knows cars. If they’re cool with the mechanic, then you should be able to trust him. If nobody has any suggestions, have somebody who knows cars come with you when you take your car into the shop. Have the mechanic explain what needs to be done, and if your auto-savvy friend approves, then you’re good to go. Also make it a point to get your vehicle serviced regularly so that it facilitates the smooth functioning and maintenance of the vehicle for a long run.