Common Car Mechanic Rip-off Tactics Infographic
Have you ever been to the mechanic and felt like they were selling you something you didn’t need? Who hasn’t? If you’re like many people, one of the only automotive problems you know how to solve is an empty gas tank, and that makes it easy for mechanics to take advantage of you. LoanCenter not only wants to be known for helping you understand car title loans, we also want to protect you from getting ripped off. Take a look at this list of shady tactics to look out for, learn the tricks of the trade and never pay for unneeded labor or magic car fluid ever again.
Using scare tactics and guilt to fix something that the mechanic “has to fix right now.”
Example: “I would never drive my kids in that car’s condition” or “I wouldn’t drive this car anywhere until it’s fixed.”
Charging full price for remanufactured parts.
Inflating labor charges.
Offering free services only to “find” other issues later.
Not knowing what is wrong, replacing their best guess anyway, then saying, “Well it wasn’t that part, let’s try the next one.”
Showing you a dirty air filter that may not even be yours to convince you to pay for a new filter.
Fixing something first and asking for permission second.
Not grouping similar or related repairs in the labor charge. Example: Charging separate labor amounts to fix two parts when both broken parts were in the same part of the engine.
Claiming some fluid is the magic fix your car needs to run better. Additives can be great, but don’t expect miracles.
Replacing parts sooner than needed. Example: If a part typically goes out at 100,000 miles, the mechanic may attempt to convince you to replace the part at 70,000 miles to “make sure it’s safe.”
Estimated Mile Markers for Typical Car Repairs
- Timing Belt – 60,000-100,000 miles.
- Water Pump – 60,000-100,000 miles. Usually depends on the timing belt or other major belts. Expect the water pump to last as long as the timing belt.
- Spark Plugs – 30,000 miles. But some spark plugs can last a lot longer.
- Fuel Filter – 1-2 years. Check it at 15,000 miles.
- Brake Pads – 50,000 miles. Though it depends on the make/model and the person’s driving habits. Still, it’s good to check the brakes when the car goes in for an oil change or tire rotation.
These are estimates. Check the manufacturer information for your make and model’s specific warranty information.
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