In California, car owners spend an average of $390 on repairs annually. If you own a car in Los Angeles, you know that’s a hefty amount for automotive fixes. Repairs are inevitable, especially for rides that have been owned for a couple of years, but they need not be costly. Often, repairs are made more expensive by mechanics who mark up services. You can save a fortune on necessary repair services by keeping these tips in mind:
Peruse the owner’s manual
It is easy to overspend on repairs when you are clueless about your car and its maintenance. Know what you should spend on and when by consulting your car owner’s manual. Take time to read it so you know the recommended schedule for having certain services done and therefore avoid paying for services you don’t need yet.
For instance, an oil change and tire rotation are needed after 30,000 miles. If you didn’t know that, you would’ve paid a mechanic for the aforementioned services if he said they needed to be done at 10,000 miles.
Aside from reading your manual, you need to be further informed about your vehicle and potential problems you may encounter in the future. Otherwise, it will be very easy for unscrupulous mechanics to take advantage of you. The less you know about the vehicle, the more likely you will be overcharged—and for services you don’t even need too. Being informed is your best defense.
Be updated with prices
You can save yourself from paying exorbitant charges if you comparison shop. Shop for repair services and parts the way you shopped for the car. Use the Internet to do your homework and find out how much these cost from different providers and suppliers to ensure you get a fair price. Only when you are updated with prices would you would know if you are being duped by the mechanic to pay more.
Explore your options
When you need to have something done, don’t go to the first repair shop or mechanic you find. Before you choose, get a second opinion. Doing this is particularly important if the repair you need is a major one. If you need to replace brakes or transmission, have at least three options. Ask for an estimate from the dealership, a repair shop and a specialty shop. Their prices will differ based on parts quality and warranties.
It would be a good idea to check customer reviews of the options you are considering. Know what former or current customers are saying about the kind of work the shop does before you bring your car there for some work.
Be as specific as possible
Did you know that many auto mechanics charge a diagnostic fee? You have to pay them a certain amount to figure out what is wrong with your car. If you are paying to have someone diagnose your car, make sure that someone diagnoses the problem right. If you encounter a problem, give the mechanic specific details. If what is bothering you is a noise in your car, tell him what it sounds like and when you hear it.
If you want to save even more money, determine the car problem yourself with the help of a diagnostic code reader or find a reliable mechanic that doesn’t charge a diagnostic fee.
Get the replaced parts back
When you need a part replaced, request for the replaced part and specifically ask that it be placed in the box of the new part. When you do this, you reduce your chances of being fooled by the mechanic. You will be assured that you get the part replacement service you paid for.