It is horrible when your engine light turns or when the vehicle runs weird. It means that you will have to get it repaired and most probably it will cost quite a bit of cash. The sum can go from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Another thing that you should be careful of is mechanics trying to scam you. Unfortunately, they have a bad reputation because many people had told stories about being lied to when they had to fix their car. Some say the repairs were bogus, and others that the upselling was unnecessary. To prevent being scammed, you can learn some of the tricks they use. Here is a list of the most popular ones. Have you fallen for any of them?
Have you ever gone to the auto shop for a quick fix or even for an oil change and have the mechanic suggest you also have the brakes repaired? This has happened to many. This is one of the most popular ways to get scammed. Usually, if you say yes to the replacement, the new brakes will be extremely expensive. Even if you agree that your brakes should be fixed, there are much cheaper and easier solutions. You can just have the brake pads replaced, turn the rotor, or clean them. Some mechanics will also add new calipers, rotors, and their work to the total bill. They are counting on the fear of your brakes failing and trying to take your money.
This doesn’t go only for mechanics. When you are at the auto shop and you are discussing the repairs with a mechanic, he will probably give you an estimated price. Unfortunately, you have to be aware that most of the time the discussed price will turn out to be much lower than the real one in the end. This is because the mechanic wants you to agree to do business and after the repairs are done, you will have no choice but to pay the higher cost. The best idea in such a situation is to get everything in writing at the start. In this way, after the car is ready to go, you will have evidence of the initially given price.
Engine or Transmission Flush
Getting an engine or transmission flush is great once in a while, usually during intervals for maintenance and this is the only time you should agree on it. If you have an older clutch pack, all of the grime that collects when there is unchanged fluid acts as a friction material. If your transmission is old and you change the fluid, it could fail. It could start refusing to shift out of gear or slipping. Look at your vehicle’s manual to find out when is the most suitable time to get such a flush. When it comes to the engine, the collected gunk might clog it.
Using Cheap Oil
We want the best for our vehicle, so according to the mechanics using synthetic oil is the best choice. However, you cannot trust all of them and you should know that some tend to switch the synthetic for a cheap one. You will be paying a lot of money for bad oil. If the latter is not high quality, it could damage the engine and increase the usage of fuel. It could also get in the way of your warranty. A good idea is to ask the mechanic for the bottle they are using.
Fuel Injection Cleaning
Sometimes the fuel injectors get clogged and cleaning them helps. However, there is no need to have it done every time you are visiting the auto shop. You will be able to sense that the injectors have clogged when you have less power. Cleaning them is not a cheap service – it might cost you around $100, so it is best to do it only when there is a real need. Another option is to learn to do it on your own.
Not Replacing Filters
You should definitely have the filters changed if you sense unpleasant smells in the car every time you turn the AC on. However, after you get your car from the mechanic, you should check whether they have actually replaced them. Some people have complained that they have paid an auto shop just to find out that the same dirty filters are still in place. The whole process of checking will take 10 minutes but will you relax and find out if you could trust your mechanic.
Charging for Washer Fluid
There is no need to pay a mechanic for washer fluid. You will be able to do it on your own without any difficulty. An entire package is $2, the reservoir is easily accessible once you lift the hood, but make sure the engine is cool. If you leave it to a mechanic, they can charge you whatever they decide for a task that is so simple. You search the Internet for a tutorial on how to do it by yourself if you are not sure how to proceed.
Repairing with Used Parts
You might come across mechanics who will refuse to fix your car if you bring a part with you. It is best to use new ones, but you should know that unfortunately, some choose used parts. This is dangerous and might damage the vehicle, making you go to the auto shop again. When you are getting your car fixed, ask for an invoice for the parts. In this way, you can know what type of parts have been put in your vehicle.
Just a few people keep track of the repairs they have done to their car in great detail. This means that we might forget when was the last time we fixed a certain part. Many mechanics will use this and try to scam you by asking for money for things that don’t need repair. For instance, you might experience problems and need to have a new fuel pump put in. However, a mechanic might say that the water pump should also be replaced. He may be trying to scam since the water pump has been fine all along. If you don’t have any knowledge about cars or don’t keep track of the things you have already fixed, mechanics might try and take advantage of that.
If you are not knowledgeable about cars, mechanics might try and inflate the bill and lie to you. In addition, they will often use complicated words and diagnostic dialect, confusing you even further while trying to make the issue sound more severe than it is. Another way to scam you is by not grouping repairs to charge you double for the labor.
You really don’t need to do alignments every year although some mechanics might tell you otherwise. If you notice a problem with the steering then you should get it fixed. In some manuals, it says that alignment is needed every 3 years. It can be an expensive service, going up to $150. It is even worse when you realize that if your car is fine, they will not have anything to align and you will be paying for nothing.
One of the worst things a mechanic can do is put counterfeit parts. Their quality is usually poor, but they look like the real ones. However, this is a serious problem, since they could be risky. The issue is growing and even governments are starting to investigate. The most common fake parts are for airbags, engine and drivetrain components, brake pads, and auto body parts. It is best to always ask about the origin of the parts and check whether they are real. If you are suspicious, visit a different mechanic.
Unsafe Car Repairs
An upselling technique mechanics use is to tell a person who doesn’t know much about the car that their vehicle is unsafe. This is taking advantage of the fear of a particular driver. It is most commonly used when trying to sell tires. A way to avoid being scammed is to just check the trace of your tires. You can also always go to a couple of different mechanics and have more than one opinion.
If you choose a terrible mechanic who desperately wants to take your money, he could fake a leak. This is done by spraying coolant on a specific part to make it look like a leaky radiator has to be fixed. It would help if you always asked to see the leak and go by the fluid they are showing you. Replacing a radiator is expensive, and the mechanics might not even have to do it. Even if there is a real problem, a seal costing around $15 will do the job. Make the mechanic prove to you that there is a serious issue.
Changing the Spark Plugs
In the past, vehicles had to have spark plugs changed all the time. However, in modern cars now, the engines are much more efficient, which means that the plugs don’t get carbon buildup that quickly. Because of that, the replacement of this part should happen at 80,000 miles. This is a controversial topic since many experts say that there might be something wrong with the engine if you have to replace them before 100,000 miles. Therefore, if you notice that your engine light has turned on, it would be best if you have it checked.