How To Feel Prepared at the Mechanic

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Have you ever asked yourself ‘how do I avoid getting ripped off by a mechanic?’ We’ve all been there. Taking a trip to your local mechanic can be an intimidating experience for those who aren’t too familiar with “shop talk.” Unless you are familiar with the automotive industry, having a trained professional hit you with a list of costly repairs can be challenging to negotiate

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates drivers lose tens of billions of dollars every year due to unnecessary car repairs. These don’t include the car repairs needed to get back on the road like replacing your compressor or alternator – more so the smaller ones that aren’t as pressing.

To help provide peace of mind when visiting your local auto shop, we provided tips on how to feel prepared when visiting your local mechanic.

Ways to Avoid Overpaying For Car Repairs

For drivers that heavily rely on their vehicle, opting out of a sudden car repair is non-negotiable. There are ways to make this process less stressful (and expensive.) If you’re planning on visiting your local mechanic soon, here are some tips to do beforehand to avoid overpaying.

  1. Go to someone you can trust – Ask friends for a personal recommendation and check online reviews before heading to a shop. Even a trusted chain might have different management or practices than your usual location, if you’re out of town or far from home. Trusted recommendations and verified reviews can ensure you find the right mechanic for you to help resolve the issue. 
  2. Get a second opinion – When getting estimates on car repairs, visiting more than one location can give you an idea of how much the repair should cost. Since the total cost includes both parts and labor, the price will vary from place-to-place. Another mechanic can also verify the diagnosis and reduce the chance of overspending.
  3. Ask for proof – There are many ways to double-check issues you’re unaware of that mechanics bring up. For example, if you’ve never noticed a leak and say your vehicle is leaking, ask them to show you. If you’ve been driving with worn brake pads, they can show you the grade (red is the only one that means replacing). Have them show you the rubber bushings to ensure they’re not functioning/point out which area has a problem for suspension issues. Asking questions for clarification is always anticipated by the mechanic, so better to ask on anything.
  4. Research average prices – Repairpal not only provides recommendations on trustworthy mechanics near you, but they also have a free estimator that calculates costs for repairs specific to your car repair. Researching prices beforehand can give you a good idea of whether the mechanic’s price is fair. 
  5. Purchase an extended car warranty – An extended car warranty is there to help cover the cost of sudden car repairs to alleviate the financial burden. Plus, Endurance sends out a professional inspector to your mechanic after submitting a claim to verify that the diagnosis is correct. Not only does this help avoid getting ripped off, but we ensure the proper repairs are done to get you back on the road.

It’s important to note that mechanics as a whole are not looking to overcharge or upsell you on unnecessary charges. However, knowing the difference between what car repairs are urgent and those that can be done later is important for all drivers.

Potential Repair Upsells to Look Out For

Mechanics in general don’t want to do additional, unnecessary work. But if you’re getting something repaired, you should be mindful of potential upsales. The car experts at Endurance have a few that are common to warn you about.

  1. “Dirty fluids” during an oil changeSometimes, the mechanic may show you on a piece of paper spots where your fluids are dirty when getting an oil change. There are very few maintenance issues that will arise due to this. If you’re in a quick oil change store and are concerned, a dealership will do this cleaning for free.  
  2. Fuel system cleaningAt many shops, fuel system cleaning involves adding cleaning additives to your fluids. A legitimate fuel system cleaning involves more than cleaning additives and requires injections. This upsell is necessary as a scheduled maintenance task and cannot be done on a whim.
  3. Tires – Regularly checking your tires or getting a tire rotation is essential to avoid driving ones that need replacing. There are times when one or two tires need replacing, but the mechanic will suggest getting them all switched out. Unless you have an all-wheel drive, you should not require all tires replaced.
  4. Parts prices – If you need new parts, it’s always good to do some price comparison shopping. Once you know the work that needs to be done, you can call other shops or search for the parts online to get accurate pricing and ensure you’re not being overcharged.

Some recommendations are worth looking into, but most aren’t required for a better driving experience. 

Get Protection From Auto Repair Costs

With every Endurance warranty, you’re protected from the costs of sudden breakdowns and provided access to our extensive network of mechanics to visit near you. We pay the mechanic for both parts and labor to take the stress out of repairing your car. Plus, every protection plan comes with even more benefits like trip interruption coverage, 24/7 roadside assistance, and 1-year access to Endurance Elite Membership.

The Endurance Elite Membership comes with key fob replacement coverage, tire replacement/repair, $250 in shopping dollars, and more. Find the perfect extended warranty to fit your needs and your budget.

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “auto warranty” or an “extended car warranty,” but it is not a warranty. A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s car warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and a VSC provider or administrator that states what is a covered repair and what is not. Not all vehicles qualify for coverage; Endurance does not offer VSCs in California.