HOWTO: Avoid Auto Repair Rip OffsPosted by Cap on December 21, 2005 |
Ever got ripped off by an auto repair shop?
Okay, ever felt like you got rip off?
According to some survey that I’m making up, the auto repair industry has some of the lowest customer satisfaction rating. The next lowest rating would be the bakery industry, whereas consumers complain that there aren’t enough bakeries located in the US.
Finding a trustworthy auto repair shop is difficult, but not impossible!
When the brake booster in my sister’s car failed, it took numerous trip to different repair shop for me to realized that most shops in my area are run by shady people. Most of the shops couldn’t diagnose the problem properly, even though the symptoms were clear. (Hissing noise from vacuum leak around booster area, no press from brake pedal, etc.)
So I went to AAA’s website and searched for some AAA approved auto repair shop in the area. To narrow the list down some more, I selected those that are ASE certified for brake repair, and those that have had high customer satisfaction rating. This is another reason why AAA membership is worth it for me. Plus I got 10% off the repair cost!
I eventually found Herman’s Expert Automotive, located in Anaheim, California. They diganoised and fixed the problem without an issue – and at a fair price.
What I really like about their website is that it contains 10 very helpful tips on how to avoid auto repair rip offs.
Here are a couple that I think are important:
- 2. Preventive maintenance. Know and be responsible for the recommended maintenance guidelines for your car or truck (most cars and trucks require changing the oil and filter every six months or 5000 miles, whichever comes first, and lubrication once a year, or 10,000 miles–but check your car’s manual to be sure). The more you know about your car, the harder it will be to cheat you. Even basics can be helpful. We had one young woman client who pulled her Volkswagen Bug into a gas station repair shop. When the attendant asked her to pull up the hood, she knew she was in the wrong place! (in case you haven’t owned a Bug, the engine is in the back of the car, not under the hood).
- 3. Always bring your car in for a general inspection before going on a road trip. Don’t let yourself get into a situation where you can be taken advantage of. We had one customer’s car break down while crossing the desert in Needles, California. He was told his block was cracked, and that he should leave the car there to be junked. He towed it to us instead, and the repairs were under $200.
- 4. When in doubt, get a second opinion. We’ll say it again: When in doubt, get a second opinion. It will be worth the extra time in the long run, especially with a new mechanic. Call other garages for estimates before authorizing repairs. If your car is disabled and you don’t trust the diagnosis or estimate, it’s worth the extra hassle to tow it to another shop if need be.
- 7. Never say, “Do whatever you think it needs.” If you are bringing your car in for a 50,000 mile service, for example, read your car’s owners manual and make a list of exactly what needs to be done.
Once again, don’t forget to check out the entire list of 10 tips!
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