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This is the moment every car owner fears. The mechanic walks in your direction and tell you the service cost will be hundreds of dollars. Then two questions appear in your mind: Is this service really necessary? Am I being over charged?
There might not be another way to have the car fixed, but there are ways to keep control of the situation. But it is necessary some planning and some work before and after the big repair services happen:
Know your mechanic
Create a healthy relation with the store you feel you can trust. With or without anybody recommending the place to you, find a place in your area that employs certified mechanics with excellence in automotive service. Stores that take customer satisfaction seriously will be very attentive on keeping their customers happy.
When you find a place, bring your car for an oil change and inspection. See if workers look honest and are willing to take the time to explain what’s going on with your car. A small repair can establish a long term relation.
Search for the truth
Tell the mechanic that another mechanic previously said the noise on the front wheels point to the need of replacing the front brake pads. How do you know he is saying the truth? The exchanging of the brake pads almost always requires the exchange of the rotors as well, which are the discs the brake pads press against when the brake pedal is depressed. This can increase the price of the service.
A good mechanic will invite you inside the shop, show you the worn parts and explain the problems to you, if you ask. If you are not there, ask the shop to send you cell phone pictures of the worn brake pads and other parts. Write down exactly which parts are being replaced. If it is an expensive repair and you’re yet not convinced they don’t want to trick you, tell the mechanic you have to wait until you can order the repair service, or tell him you are not ready to do it now. Then obtain a second opinion, even if the next shop will charge you for it.
The price is right
Once you are convinced the repair is necessary, there are ways to guarantee if the price is right. Make researches to find out if the price asked is in accordance with the local market.
Remember that the lowest price might not be the best deal. Some places will sell inferior quality parts that will not last. That’s the tip.