Need Car Repairs?
6 Tips for Getting a Fair Price
While many people love working on their own cars and even get their family members involved in the fun, there are plenty of us who don’t know how to identify an auto issue or know what kind of maintenance schedule our vehicles should be on. If your car needs repairs but you’re not sure what’s wrong, you may worry you’ll end up getting ripped off when you drop it off at the mechanic. While some auto body shops can be untrustworthy, there are measures you can take to ensure you get an honest deal on your car repairs. Before you hand your credit card over to a new mechanic, take these six steps.
1. Read Reviews
When you’re in the market for auto repairs but not sure where to turn, a good place to start your search is reviews on Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau. You’ll be able to learn if a mechanic treats customers respectfully and charges them fairly or if they have a less desirable reputation. But don’t discount an auto repair shop just because they don’t have a strong internet presence — more than likely there is a hidden gem that only locals know about.
2. Get Recommendations
If you don’t have an auto body shop you know and trust, ask family, friends, and coworkers for recommendations. If you’re looking for a shop in your neighborhood, the social network Nextdoor is a great resource for soliciting recommendations from neighbors.
3. Shop Around
Unless you’re in a bind and need your car fixed at any cost, always take time to shop around for the best price. After you’ve received a diagnosis and estimate from an auto body shop, call around to see what other local mechanics charge for the same service on your car’s make and model. If another shop provides a much lower quote, you can use it to negotiate your original estimate or decide to take your business to the more affordable location. However, you’ll still be responsible for paying the diagnostic price quoted to you by the original mechanic.
Some auto body and repair shops offer computerized estimates, which accurately illustrate the pricing structure for customers, in addition to helping locate and track necessary parts and calculate the time it takes for the repair from start to finish. The beauty of the computerized estimate system is that it can tap into several databases for information, including parts and car manufacturers, as well as insurance companies. When everyone is on the same page, it can make for a smoother repair and experience.
4. Read Your Owner’s Manual
All modern cars come with a recommended maintenance schedule, usually found in the owner’s manual. It outlines how frequently you should attend to routine auto care services like oil, air filter, and spark plug changes, and various fluid top-ups and flushes. If you don’t have the original owner’s manual for your car, look for the maintenance schedule online or contact your car’s manufacturer.
Some mechanics could try to sell you extra services when you stop in for a routine oil change.
To avoid paying for unnecessary services, make sure you understand scheduled maintenance requirements and track when service items are completed.
5. Research Before You Buy
When you get your car’s diagnosis and recommended repairs, don’t immediately give your mechanic the green light. Instead, say you’ll think it over and get back to them, and take a few minutes to look up the repairs they list. Unscrupulous mechanics can exploit a lack of car-knowledge to sell unnecessary services. If they’re especially dishonest — and you don’t do your due diligence — you could end up paying for a service completely unrelated to your car problems.
In addition to researching the services you’re sold, also check the price of replacement parts. While it’s normal for auto body shops to charge a small markup on parts, some could try to charge you several times the retail cost of a new part.
6. Ask Questions
When you pick up your car from the mechanic, ask them to show you any broken parts that were removed and explain what they did to your car. By doing this, you’ll ensure that the repairs you paid for actually happened. Even if your mechanic is 100 percent honest, asking questions about the services that were performed will help you to better understand how your car functions and how you can prevent future damage.
Whether you’re unhappy with your mechanic and looking for a new one or you’re looking for an auto body shop in your city for the first time, it’s important to protect yourself. By taking these steps to find a good repair shop and advocating for yourself, you’ll find you have a much better experience, and a car that will be treated well.
Contact us to get a FREE COMPUTERIZED REPAIR ESTIMATE for your auto repair or restoration.
Two locations to serve you:
Saturdays by appointment only.
Quartz Hill – 661 943.0629
5022 Columbia Way Quartz Hill, CA 93536
Lancaster – 661 945.5400
42615 8th St W. Lancaster, CA 93534