Do Mechanics Really Rip You Off?

Most mechanics are decent, hard-working people who want to do their job, do it right, and go home. As in any other industry, however, a few bad seeds that are devoid of scruples see your lack of automotive knowledge as a weakness that can be exploited for profit. If your mechanic is trying any of these games, you might want to get a second opinion.

These are some scenarios when your mechanic tries to rip you off and will give you hint to ask for a second opinion from other mechanics:

Changing the spark plugs on a less than 30,000 mile car

There was a time when changing your spark plugs was basically an annual event. That’s because the engines didn’t burn fuel very efficiently, and the plugs would run out of carbon buildup. It just doesn’t happen with today’s engines. If your car has less than 30,000 miles, and your mechanic says it needs new plugs, either the underlying problem is that he or she should be telling you about it, or your mechanic is the problem.

Charge for parts not replaced or labour not performed

It’s not unusual for us to attend to a basic service for a new customer, where their previous mechanic was said to have performed a major service, and yet the customer complains about a number of problems that simply shouldn’t be there if the car was well serviced. Usually, it’s because the parts charged were not actually replaced.

Create Phantom Repairs

There are some mechanics who are going to make repairs out of thin air in order to upsell you. Worse still, because there wasn’t a problem in the first place, they don’t actually do any extra work. For example, the mechanic sprays the WD40 on your suspension struts. They’ll bring you in to show you that you’ve got an oil leak and the suspension struts need to be replaced. You authorize the work, they go ahead and clean up the WD40 and paint the suspension struts in black. When you come back, they’ll show you your new shiny suspension struts with no oil leak.

Emotionally blackmailing you into a repair

Don’t fall for lines like “I wouldn’t want to take my kids in that,” or “it’s against the law for me to let you drive that without fixing that,” which is a bold lie. Even if your car is in a legitimate need for repair in the immediate future, if you don’t have a hard time driving it, you’ve probably just exposed the shady side of your mechanic. Take it somewhere else for a second opinion, but don’t tell them what the first person said until they had a chance to look at it all.

Recommending miracle cure additives

It has been proven multiple times that additives can help your car run smooth. There is no question about that.  Fluid exchanges are essential and some of the additives act like fiber for the fuel system to reduce carbon buildup. However, there are some mechanics that would recommend to use miracle cure additives to fix one’s car and it may not be the best and practical way to go. If you are unsure that miracle cure additive, do some research before agreeing to it. At the end of the day, it’s gonna be your personal decision that will be followed and executed. 

Lure you in the door with a cheap service

With thousands of mechanics, workshops and dealers, the automotive repair industry is highly competitive. One of the most common tricks to get customers out of the door is to advertise a cheap service. They attract first-time customers with a bargained service headline rate as low as $99. While this may sound appealing, the problem is that the mechanic just doesn’t make any money. With the cost of parts, plus their business overheads, they ‘re not paying for themselves. To counter this, they’re going to upsell you a bunch of things you don’t need. The strategy is to get you in the door and then hit the bill.

Bring forward scheduled parts replacements

Loads of parts in your car will eventually have to be replaced. The trigger is either the number of kilometers your car has traveled or the time. A mechanic who wants to bump up your bill will often needlessly bring forward these major parts replacements.

By Jon ‘ShakataGaNai’ Davis, CC BY 3.0,

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