Beginning business with a brand new mechanic is similar to trying to reserve a room in a Czechoslovakia when you’re unfamiliar with the language. You have probably read a guide or two to help familiarize yourself with your vehicle and its current problem, but that’s akin to reading the “Top Ten Czech Phrases for Tourists” and then trying to negotiate the price of a room successfully. There’s just too much going on that you don’t understand. Nobody speaks mechanic speak other than mechanics after all.
When you begin talking about the issue with the new mechanic, you’ll probably look you’re acting out charades. The mechanic slowly starts to nod in acknowledgment, but there’s no way of knowing if he’s nodding in recognition of your problem or the fact that he’s got another fish on the hook for big money. Timidly you sign on the dotted line and presto, you’re on the hook for $1,500 and change for a job that won’t cost 1/3 that amount.
Sadly this happens each and every day, and it’s something that you need to avoid like the plague. Luckily there are methods you can rely on to keep the price fair and help you end up with an affordable bill that you don’t mind paying.
Choose the Shop Carefully
The best way to avoid getting ripped off is to pick out the shop you bring your baby to with care. There are some shops that are known for robbing people blind, and there are other shops that most would agree are fair and good to work with. It’s up to you to find out about those shops as soon as you can, and preferably before you need serious work done.
Ask Around – Talk with friends and family about the shops they like to use, and if you talk to enough people, you might realize a trend over time for the ones that can be trusted most.
Look for Guarantees – Some major chains around the country offer excellent guarantees or warranties on the work done. Just make sure you understand it fully and that you take advantage of it.
Read Reviews – It’s important to look at sites like the BBB to see what that local shop has as a rating. You’ll get to learn more about it from the reviews that other people leave behind.
Try to Determine the Problem
Hop on the internet and research the common problems associated with your car’s symptoms. Take note of the different problems, and also what other people paid to have them corrected. Keep this information with you so that you’ll know when a mechanic is charging you far more than you believe he should be. Have him explain why the charge is so much more, and do further research before signing on that dotted line.
Consider a Second Opinion
One of the best ways that you can verify you’re getting a proper diagnosis is to bring your vehicle to another shop to have it checked out before letting either one do the work. This is an excellent strategy when you are considering very expensive work, and something that you should really consider because it could save you big time in some instances.
Demand Proof of Work
Some mechanics will state that replacement parts are needed when they aren’t. Ask to see the worn part that’s still on your vehicle, and then look at the new part when it’s installed. This keeps you from paying for something that you don’t have to.
Picking out a good garage is tough, but when you finally have one you can trust that you are going to get good quality work without being robbed each and every time.