As with every business industry out there, there are some businesses that genuinely want to help you get the best result at the lowest price possible. On the other hand, there are other businesses that are in it solely to make money, not really caring if you are getting ripped off or not getting the best product. However, it is often hard to tell one from the other. So how can you tell when a mechanic is honest and when he is a scam artist? How do you know when you really need something replaced and when a mechanic is just trying to get you to spend more money at his shop? Although it is never clear-cut when it comes to determining a business’s character, there are some tips to help you avoid getting ripped off.
Honestly, Not Honest
If a mechanic seems extremely nice, very reasonable, and absurdly cheap when you first come to the shop, their chances of being a scam artist increases greatly. People who fall for this trick usually believe there is no way this nice person could charge them extra or try to keep the vehicle as long as possible with unnecessary repairs. Every good salesman knows that the best way to sucker someone into buying things is by developing trust and a relationship with the customer. Once they think you trust them, they will use it against you. No, not every nice guy is a shady mechanic, but more often than not, that is how many stories of scams begin.
If you go to a shop for an oil change or a belt replacement and the mechanic comes back with a long list of things that need to be done to your vehicle, run the other direction. This is a common way for mechanics to prey on those who know very little about the health of their vehicle. The best way to avoid having work done that is not needed is by asking the mechanic to give a prioritized list of what needs to be done. Then take your vehicle to other businesses and see what they say without seeing the first list you have. If they all say the same thing, you probably do need something fixed. However, if they all are concerned with something different, you should probably just stick to what you came in for in the first place.
Blank is Bad
If the auto repair shop gives you a blank work order form, you could be in for a costly visit. If you sign a blank form, they can do as much work as they want and charge you ridiculous amounts, and you can’t complain. Make sure you get a detailed work order form that outlines the hours that will be spent, the parts needed, and any warranties included.
Sketchy auto repair shops often tend to try to get you with things like power steering or coolant flushes. If either of these things are mentioned to you, it is advised that you take your vehicle elsewhere. These things usually only need to be flushed every 100,000 miles or so, so if your vehicle hasn’t gained that many miles yet, there is a very good chances that you are about to be scammed.
These are just a few of the many tricks that mechanics all over the country are known for. It is clear that not every repair shop is dishonest, but every town has its fair share of money hungry mechanics. If you too worried about getting scammed, bring someone with who really knows cars to help you determine how much work really needs to be done. Always follow your gut!
Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited offers the best auto repair Columbia MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.