Is Your Car Mechanic Scamming You?

The sad truth is that you can’t always trust what your mechanic is telling you. But how do you know if your mechanic is scamming you or doing you a favor if you don’t know a thing about cars?

The truth is that with a bit of research, you can protect yourself and find a reputable repair shop you can trust – and you don’t need to know a ton about cars. We’ve come up with some simple steps you can follow to find a reputable repair shop and keep yourself out of a scam.

Ways To Prevent a Scam

The best way to prevent a repair shop or dealership from ripping you off is to come prepared. That’s why we highlighted seven different ways you can protect yourself from a scam below – and they’re easier to follow than you might think.

Research the Job

Some mechanics will tell you exactly what they plan to do and how much they plan to charge, but they might oversell how long it will take them to do the job and what a fair price is. The good news is that in today’s world, all you need to do is go online to see what a reasonable price for a repair job is. are one of the good guys on the market, ones you can always count on for best service.

Sites like RepairPal do a great job at giving you an estimate. Just keep in mind that amounts will vary depending on what you drive and where you take it for repairs.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to do your own parts research once the mechanic tells you what they want to replace. Head over to a site like AutoZone and see how much they’re charging for a part – don’t let the mechanic upsell you here!
If they want to play hardball, just purchase the part and bring it in separately. If it saves you a few bucks, it’s worth the minor inconvenience. If your curious about how much specific jobs like a paint job will cost you, you can read more here.

Read the Owner’s Manual

Before heading in for any routine maintenance, read through the owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer says needs done. You’d be surprised by how many repair shops and dealerships recommend unneeded work just to make a few bucks.

Just check out this shady Fort Worth dealership that recommends transmission fluid changes on a Ford Explorer every 30,000-miles. Meanwhile, Ford recommends only changing the fluid once every 150,000-miles!

How many people are they scamming with this unnecessary maintenance, and what else are they trying to slide into the repair bill that you don’t need?

Just check out the owner’s manual to see what you actually need before heading in – and if they recommend anything else, run the other way.

Get a Written Estimate


Many shady dealerships will sucker you into dropping off your vehicle by verbally quoting you a low-repair cost when you walk in the door. However, unless you get this quote in writing, it’s your word against theirs when you go to pick up your vehicle.

An easy way to prevent this from happening is to have them issue you a written estimate when dropping off the vehicle. That way, if they try to charge you a ton more at pick up, you can show them that’s not what you agreed to!

Keep Receipts and Check the Warranty

Believe it or not, repair shops hate warranty work. Warranty work doesn’t pay nearly as well, so if they don’t have to repair something under warranty, they won’t. With that in mind, if any of your maintenance comes with a warranty, keep the receipt.

And when the mechanic tells you that your vehicle needs a repair, always check the warranty first.

Get a Second Opinion

Unless your vehicle can’t move, there’s no reason you can’t take your vehicle to another shop for another opinion. Two quotes will give you a better idea of what’s going on with your vehicle. Even better, you’ll get two different mechanics’ opinions on what’s causing the problem.

In today’s world, you can also chat online with a mechanic to see if they agree with what the shop is telling you – and if you’re paying a fair price.

Ask to See the Old Parts

Everything that’s on your vehicle when you drive it in belongs to you, even if it’s broken. If you suspect your mechanic isn’t doing what they say they are, ask to see the old parts. This ensures that they’re not charging you for work they’re not completing.

Also, ask them to go over what’s wrong with the part they pulled. If they can show you something’s clearly defective, then it’ll give you a little extra peace of mind knowing there was something actually wrong with your vehicle.

Trust Your Gut


If you head into a repair shop and something doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t. A professional shop should have no problems going over everything about your vehicle with you – and walk you through the repairs in a way you can understand.

If you feel like they’re giving you the run-around or are overcomplicating an issue, so you won’t understand what they’re saying, chances are they are. Trust your gut and find a new shop if something doesn’t feel right.

Final Thoughts

You don’t need to settle for a repair shop that you can’t trust. Instead, shop around with something you’re comfortable with – like routine maintenance. Your owner’s manual tells you what your vehicle needs, so read it before you go in and see what the shop recommends.

Don’t tell them you know what you want or need. Just see what they recommend instead. If they only recommend the maintenance in the owner’s manual, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself a reputable shop.
While you can’t let your guard down completely, you’re better off than if you went to a shop trying to sneak in unnecessary repairs.

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