How You Can Avoid Dishonest Auto Repair Shops

Some people buy cars for prestige but for most people a car is not a luxury, it is a necessity. You need it to run errands, take kids to school and commute to work. For this reason, your car can affect your productivity and it is not farfetched to say it could hamper your ability to meet your life goals. You therefore need a good auto repair professional to maintain it and keep it functional at all times. Here are some tips on how to avoid being swindled by dishonest mechanics.

Scare tactics

There are two reasons why mechanics may choose to use scare tactics. The first is to get you to pay for nonexistent repairs. For example, he could tell you that the car is a death trap and needs immediate repair. Most people are too scared to question and often go for with what they are told.

The other reason is to prevent you from going to another repair shop. For example, he may tell you that you are lucky to have gotten there safely. He will make you feel like driving another mile down the road is very dangerous. Just like in the first instance you may be too scared to scrutinize him further.

Ask questions

It is always important to ask questions. Some unscrupulous repair men may use technicalities to get you to pay more than you should. Note that a qualified professional mechanic will always be willing to answer all your questions.

You therefore need to arm yourself with a set of questions. Find out if this is their area of specialization. Some auto repair shops are only certified to repair certain makes and models. Find out how much you can expect to be charged for diagnosis. How do they charge? Per hour, or is it a flat rate fee?

Show them you know

Dishonest auto repair shops tend to prey on people who they perceive as clueless. Showing them you have a clue can throw them off. There are ways you can do this.

Describe the problem in very specific terms. If you are hearing noises when you brake, where are the noises and where is the sound coming from? The more specific you are the harder it is for them to lie and invent other mechanical issues. You can also research the problem online to find out what the problem could be before visiting your local repair shop.

You may also choose to invest in diagnostic tool. One such tool is the CarMD tool. You simply plug it into the car. After that plug it into your computer and it will give you codes on what the problem could be. You can use the report to verify if what the mechanic is saying is true.


Auto repair certification should not be overlooked. The ASE is one of the most reputable certification that is recognized widely. Before an auto repair expert can get this certification he needs to have had at least two years work experience. Some professionals may choose to get certification on certain specific areas of specialization such as suspension, heating and cooling, machining or heavy trucks. Make sure you ask if they have these credentials. ASE should be prominently displayed in the shop.

Second opinion

Do not ignore your gut feeling. If you ever drive into a repair shop and questioned their professionalism, or had second thoughts about their level of service, seek a second opinion from another repair shop. Do not feel guilty about walking away because your interests should come first. If you follow these simple rules outlined here, the probability of being a victim of auto repair dishonesty will be very low.

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited offers the best auto repair in Columbia MO.

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