When I got my first car twenty years ago, I was clueless when it came to maintaining it and keeping it in a roadworthy condition. As a result, I had to pay for costly repairs that could have been avoided if the car had been looked after better. I learned my lesson and started reading everything I could about basic car maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned in the hopes it will save other new drivers making costly mistakes. I blog about a variety of topics, such as troubleshooting uneven tyre wear, the benefits of regular servicing and maintaining your car during the winter months. I hope you find my blog useful.
If it is your first car and you have zero-to-little cognizance of what goes or happens underneath the bonnet, you'll likely be the perfect candidate for the auto repair shop to play with for some money-swindling. This is the unfortunate truth as only a handful of shops in a given locality are more inclined towards service than money. However, here are a few tips to stay off the hooks.
Read the User Manual
The vehicle user manual may be a large chunk of pages carrying loads of data, but it sure isn't fed with junk. While these manuals often get a skip, it's highly recommended to read through them to get to know about your car's functions, features, components and any other related data.
This helps understand the lifespan of every individual part of the vehicle and also when they are normally slated for repair or replacement. With this information in hand, it becomes easier to counter argue or ward off any unnecessary or additional repair tasks the mechanic may want to sell you.
Get Multiple Opinions and Written Estimate
Letting multiple mechanics like CJ's Spares & Repairs check and inspect your car is a good tactic if you are not too sure about an auto repair shop's observations and recommendations. For instance, if the cost of repairs is going way above your original assumption, get the quote written down on paper.
If the breakdown doesn't read genuine and unavoidable, get opinions from other mechanics on the same, or ask them to come up with their own estimate. If there are common repairs, they're probably matters of real concern. This cross-checking and analysis also helps decide whether the mechanic is honest. Moreover, the written quote format ensures you aren't slapped with unnecessary costs without your consent.
Encourage High Interaction
Don't just obey or give into every suggestion of the mechanic. Talk and interact with the technician to get to the helm and understand the kind of work involved. Talk to them in detail about your car situation, using technical words wherever and whenever possible.
If the mechanic is recommending a part replacement, request to see the spare part before it gets attached to the vehicle. Also, ask to check the damage part or area before accepting to get it mended. Invariably a worn-out part gives visible signs. If you aren't knowledgeable to interpret the signals, get someone you know who understands auto work.
This ensures you aren't ripped off with an old part for the cost of a new one, or hooked up with an unnecessary, expensive repair. Also, when the mechanic sees you involved and meddling with every aspect of the repair, he believes you know your stuff and is therefore less likely to take you for an expensive ride.
Inculcate the habit of seeking more explanations and opinions whenever there's a need to replace a spare part that hasn't lived its average lifespan. Don't get sold into unnecessary services you didn't originally plan to get done. Moreover, if you feel you are spending too much money for servicing or repairing a recently bought car, or if the mechanic is recommending a part replacement that's recently swapped, it's an obvious red sign.