Among the many joys of owning an automobile also comes the many stresses of automotive maintenance and repair. When you don’t know much about your vehicle other than what kind of gas to put in and how to drive it, you become the target for repair fraud and scams.
Women and the elderly are the largest market targeted each year. Protecting yourself from these types of mechanics can be completed with these five tips.
- Visit an Authorized Dealer. Many car owners prefer to go to smaller mechanics and hope that it will save them money over going to the dealership. In an ideal world, this would be true. However smaller mechanics means smaller business which means more likely to rip off their customers. An authorized dealer is carefully monitored by the brand to ensure that each customer is treated accordingly and fairly. This extra detail is worth the extra cost and automotive repairs.
- Check What is Covered by Warranty. Whether you have a factory or extended warranty on your vehicle, there is a long list of repairs which will be covered. Mechanics tried to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of what is covered to rip you off. A detailed outline of your coverage can typically be found with your new car materials or by contacting the company that issued your warranty.
- Verify Warranty Costs. Most warranties require car owners to put down a deductible. They also only cover a certain amount of a repair cost based on what the industry average is for the parts and current labor rates and the estimated time and should take. Another way which a mechanic shop may try to scam you is by quoting you and your warranty company longer labor time and higher parts cost. It is up to the consumer to pay the difference of what the warranty company doesn’t cover. Warranties are designed so that the majority of the costs are covered. If you feel like there is too big of a difference, as in more than 10%, between what you’re being quoted and what your warranty has quoted you then you might be getting ripped off.
- Get Multiple Quotes. When it comes to auto repair can never be too careful consider getting quotes from the dealership where you bought your car as well as other mechanics in the area. Compare this close to determine the best service.
- Review a Company. We live in a world where online reviews are abundant. Websites like Angieslist.com give consumers a chance to provide feedback about companies. You can also find reviews for your mechanic on Yelp.com and Google.com, as well as by checking their Facebook page. Look to other consumers to gauge what kind of experience and deal they had with that shop. With any luck you might find that a smaller repair shop can offer you a better deal than an authorized dealer, and be trustworthy.