Avoiding Auto Repair Shop Scams

When you take your vehicle into an auto repair shop, you’re trusting a team of professionals to take care of one of the most expensive possessions you own.

You expect them to treat your vehicle with respect and to complete the job to a high standard. Most people are satisfied with their experiences at their local auto repair shop, but sadly, not every shop gets it right.

Some businesses may make genuine mistakes. Others, though, could try to scam you.

What can you do to avoid auto repair shop scams?

#1. Cleaning dirty fuel injectors

Is the shop offering to clean up your dirty fuel injectors every 15,000 or 20,000 miles? Well, there’s actually no need for them to do this — nor for you to pay extra for it!

Gasoline today actually features detergents that can clean the fuel injectors independently. Fuel injectors should be replaced once per year or every 35,000 miles.

Always be wary of auto repair shops quoting a price for cleaning your fuel injectors without good reason. If you know it’s unnecessary, never take them up on their offer.

#2. Bloating the bill

Unscrupulous mechanics might try to give you an unpleasant surprise when you take your car to their shop: highlighting new problems that demand repair — immediately!

However, while additional issues can surface during a service, your best option is to get a second opinion. Get the main problem fixed as planned, and then take your vehicle to another mechanic for their insight.

#3. Fitting your car with used parts

Your mechanic is charging you for new parts, but are they using second-hand or refurbished ones instead?

The majority of mechanics are honest and fair, and will use the exact parts they claim to. If you have doubts about yours, though, check the parts’ container and look out for key brands like Fram, Bosch, Champion and AC Delco.

If you’re paying for new parts, make sure you’re getting maximum bang for your buck.

#4. Sneakily switching tires

You’ve taken your vehicle to an auto repair shop. You notice your tires seem flatter or less durable than before. Could your mechanic have swapped them for an older pair?

If so, you’ll find that you have to pay for replacements sooner than you should — meaning more money in the unethical mechanic’s pocket.

One top tip to avoid this tire-switch scam: mark your tires in a subtle (but unmistakable) way and check them after the mechanic’s work is done. If the mark’s nowhere to be seen, you’ll know!

A small cross or circle with a paintbrush should do the trick.

#5. Replacing air filters needlessly

There’s no need to your replace your air filter every time the car oil is changed. Believe it or not, air filters can last for a whole year or 15,000 miles, offering more durability than you might expect.

Don’t let your mechanic pressure you into paying for a new one if you know you don’t need it.

#6. Questionable product lifespans

Be warned: there’s no such thing as lifetime products or fluids. Your mechanic may try to tell you otherwise, but all parts have to be changed once your car has clocked up 80,000 miles.

#7. Engine flushing

An engine flush isn’t always necessary. Your mechanic could try to cheat you, but if you know your car or truck doesn’t need an engine flush always say no.

#8. Oil change

For average drivers, the oil should only be changed in your vehicle once per 5,000 miles (or six months). If your vehicle was made before 2007, though, that frequency can change to 3,000 miles or three months.

A good mechanic will provide you with honest guidance about oil changes. If they tell you your car needs one every time you visit them, consider going to a new auto repair shop instead.

We hope these tips help you avoid common auto repair shop scams. Always be vigilant and never let unreliable mechanics push you into handing over your cash when they don’t deserve it!