When you bring your car to a mechanic, it’s probably because you don’t really know how to do certain elements of car repair on your own. However, that means that some bad actors have been able to use this fact to scam people out of their money. If you’re worried that a mechanic is trying to scam you, here are five things to look out for.
1. They Don’t Give You an Estimate
Your car problems, especially in a normal car that you drive every day, shouldn’t be so confusing and widespread that they’re impossible to provide an estimate for. A good mechanic should be able to give you at least a fair estimate before they start work. If there’s no estimate, that’s a problem.
2. They Require Up-Front Payment for Everything
You’re probably used to paying for most things up front, but a car mechanic is more like a restaurant than a movie theater. When you go to the mechanic, you shouldn’t have to pay until the end, when the mechanic will know exactly how much you owe in labor and parts. If you pay up front, you’re probably overpaying.
3. They Use a Significant Amount of Jargon in a Confusing Way
Some car jargon may be necessary to explain something that’s happening in your car. You shouldn’t expect to be able to understand everything without any questions. However, keep an eye on whether the mechanic is willing to explain things to you in a simplified way. If not, it might be because they’re trying to make the problem sound worse than it really is.
4. They Refuse to Give You Old Car Parts
One way some people ensure they got all the services they paid for is to ask to at least see the old car parts at the end of the process. If the mechanic insists that you can’t have these parts back or you can’t even see them, it might be that they charged you for some things they didn’t actually do. Many mechanic shops keep these parts to recycle, which can be very beneficial, but it can be helpful to at least verify they took these parts out.
5. They Won’t Explain Why You Need to Fix It Now
What is the actual problem you’re experiencing? Why do you need to fix it now, instead of next year at your yearly checkup? Your mechanic should be honest and up-front about the real problem and its impact. If the mechanic is vague and just insists that the problem is “serious,” it might be an overblown concern.
Most mechanics are hardworking, standout people who want to make sure your car is in the best shape possible when it leaves the car shop. However, you should still be careful any time you take your car in to see a mechanic. With these red flags in your mind, you can be more careful next time you need to get your car fixed.