Nobody likes having to get their car repaired. Maybe the worst part is waiting for the phone call telling you how much it costs. You are at the mercy of the mechanic or dealership – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Extended car warranties and other tactics can minimize or even avoid auto repair overcharge.
Who’s Giving You Maintenance Advice?
When you take your car to a dealership, a service advisor is usually the point of contact. This person might not be a mechanic, and service advisors often get paid on commission. From a business point of view this makes a lot of sense. As a consumer though, you might be buying service you don’t need. This can range from unnecessary repairs to service that isn’t required.
Many service advisors are truly helpful, but in every field there can be some rotten apples. Instead, ask to talk directly to the mechanic if you can. Ask the mechanic exactly what needs to be fixed and if there are any less expensive options. You might find the answer to be much different than the service advisor’s quote.
Read Your Owner’s Manual
Don’t take anybody’s word for it; go to the source instead. Your car owner’s manual will tell you exactly when you should have service done to your vehicle. So if you take your car in for noisy suspension, and they say you are due for an oil change; check the manual first.
One way to avoid service advisor costs is to go to an independent mechanic. Be careful though, because even national auto service chains might use service advisors. If you deal with a truly independent mechanic, then no sales commission is involved. But how can you be sure they are telling you the truth about needed repairs and costs?
Do Some Work Yourself
One way is to ask how much the labor alone will cost. Once you have this number in hand, ask how much they charge for parts; then ask for a list of all the parts needed. Next you can go online or to an auto parts shop to see if buying the parts yourself will save money. This requires time, but you are sure to get what you pay for.
You can also shop around at different garages and dealerships to get the best rate, but if your car is not running you’ll have to pay towing charges. This process can take a lot of time as well.
Auto Warranties Can Save You Time And Money
With an extended auto warranty, many repair costs are covered. There is no way you can be overcharged since the warranty pays for the repairs directly. Depending on your coverage, you may have to pay a deductible. However, the deductible has a limit that won’t be exceeded no matter what the repair costs.
For people who don’t want to haggle and are short on time, an extended vehicle protection plan might be the best way to avoid auto repair overcharge.