Whether due to an accident or long term wear and tear, you’ll eventually need to repair and maintain your car. Needing to replace worn out or damaged parts, replacing the tires or getting new brakes are common repairs, but very expensive ones if you’re not prepared.
Do not wait too long to act if repairs are needed for your vehicle. The problems will only get worse and could damage more parts that need to be replaced. Your vehicle could break down at the worst possible time or you could get a ticket because of an unresolved violation.
If you have the tools and a little skill, you can save money by doing small repairs or routine maintenance yourself. All you need is the owner’s manual and maybe a YouTube clip or two to gain the necessary knowledge.
Everyone has heard horror stories of repair shops overcharging their customers. You can go a long way toward preventing this by selecting the right repair shop with a mechanic you trust.
Start by figuring out what scope of work needs to be done on your vehicle. You might already have an idea of what the problem is or maybe you have a mechanically-minded friend who can look at your vehicle with you. The mechanic can also attempt to provide a diagnosis. Get a scope of work in writing and don’t need feel obligated to go ahead with the repair. Shop around.
There are great resources on the web or really handy apps for obtaining information on the cost of common auto repairs. These tools are a good way to establish a price range of the repairs that are needed. You won’t find a repair shop that charges the exact amount given by the site or app, but you’ll easily recognize when a shop or a mechanic is grossly overcharging.
To get a fair price on repairs, follow these simple tips:
1. Choose an ASE certified mechanic and repair shop
A mechanic who took the time to obtain the Automotive Service Excellence certification will care about good customer service and charging fair prices. Look for a AAA approved facility if you’re a AAA member to receive additional discounts.
2. Search reviews
Look for both positive and negative reviews on websites like Yelp. Look to see if there have been any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. Another great resource is to get recommendations from friends and family.
3. Before taking your vehicle into the repair shop, be sure to talk to the mechanic or the shop owner
Ideally, visit the repair shop in person to ensure the shop is clean and ask who will work on your vehicle. Find out which vendor the spare parts will be coming from.
4. Consider having multiple repairs completed at the same time to save on labor
While your car is in the repair shop, you can save money by having several parts replaced as long as there is wear and tear on those other parts. But, be extremely wary of a suggestion to make a repair or replace parts that may not need to be replaced. Ask them to keep the parts they remove, so you may inspect them.
5. Always get an itemized quote
Be sure that the shop includes the cost of labor and what they are charging you for each part. Ask to be contacted in order to authorize any additional repairs in case the mechanic finds additional issues once they start working on your car.
Take good care of your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual to see the scheduled maintenance guide. Preventative maintenance will cost you a little money up front, but save you from having to make a costly repair in the future.