P&K How To: How To Avoid Car Repair Rip-Offs
By Leah Kackley
Being without your car is definitely a wrench-in-your-week. Having your bank account depleted is frustrating but is admittedly part of owning a vehicle. However, leaving the car repair shop feeling like you just got “had” makes the situation so much worse. Learning how to maintain involvement and control as a car owner is key to a successful repair experience. Larry Smith, owner of Scotty’s Tire and Automotive in Brandon, MS, shared some advice on how to do just that.
First, find someone you trust. There are plenty of reputable repair shops in our area, but YOU have to feel comfortable with them. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, get a second opinion. Next, keep your vehicle regularly serviced. It might help you avoid other problems. But it also reduces the chance of an astronomical final bill. A good shop is going to want to not just fix the problem you came in with, but also the problems that likely contributed to the one that brought you there in the first place.
Always ask upfront if there is a fee to check the vehicle. Smith advises that diagnosis fees should be minimal or there should be none at all. And lastly, never be afraid to ask questions. Smith advises to “make the salesman explain everything to you. Dishonest people do not like to explain things. If you are present at the sales facility, ask if they can actually show you the problem.” Sometimes getting a full explanation of why the repair is necessary (and that might need to include some information on how a car works – it’s okay!) helps you to understand why the money needs to be spent.
No one wakes up wanting to deal with car repairs, but using these tips to help you take control of the whole ordeal will make it all work better for you and your family!