I am sure some of you have been in a situation where you thought you had been treated fairly after a car repair, enthusiastically spoke to your car friend about it and then found out you were actually ripped off.
It is unfortunate that some car repair shops don’t have a bright, flashing neon sign letting you know how shady they will be. Maybe they could put a shade umbrella out front to subtly drop the hint. Unfortunately, they are not kind enough to do either and most people don’t realize the mechanic is shady until after work has already been done to their car.
Though dishonest and sly mechanics may sometimes be hard to spot, there are usually red flags that can help you determine if a mechanic is honest or a “Shady Mcgrady”. Below are three red flags to be aware of:
Flat Tire = New Tire: Almost everyone has been in the situation where all of sudden you are stuck on the side of the road due to a flat tire. Now you must give your tire’s twice removed distant cousin (your awkward spare tire) the opportunity to pick up the slack until you have a solution for your flat tire.
Unfortunately, this situation gives you very limited flexibility when deciding where to get your tire fixed, especially if you do not have a spare tire handy. A lot of consumers automatically assume that if they have a flat tire they will need a new tire altogether. Some dishonest repair shops prey on this misconception.
In most cases the $100 tire replacement can be avoided by having the repair shop patch your tire, a service some shops will do for free. If you still have plenty of tread on your tires and the puncture is not in close proximity to the side of your tire then, 9 times out of 10, it can be patched.
The Flush-A-Roo: Have you ever taken your car to get an oil change only to be told you need all of your fluids flushed and replaced? Unless your car is 20 years old and has over 200k miles on it, chances are you do not need your fluids changed.
If for some reason you feel your fluids might need to be changed you can first refer to your owner’s manual or do a quick google search to find the answer you need. Nonetheless, never allow a mechanic to flush your fluids until you have a full understanding of why you need your fluids flushed.
After-the-Fact Changed Your Air Filter Charge: One of the most common shady moves done by some mechanics is the changing of the air filter. Yes, air filters do need to be changed occasionally but you should always authorize the mechanic to change it before it is actually changed and you are charged. A mechanic SHOULD NOT perform any work on your car without your consent.
If you are told your air filter needs to be changed it may not be a bad idea to ask the mechanic to see the dirty air filter to verify. BEWARE though, some mechanics will bring a used dirty filter and say it is from your car when in reality it is just a staged air filter they use to mislead the customer.
If your spidey senses begin to go off when you are told you need a new air filter, you can ask to see them remove your air filter. Once again, it is helpful to refer to your owner’s manual to check the routine maintenance for your air filter.
By looking for the three red flags of flat tire=new tire, the flush-a-roo, and the after-the- fact changed your air filter charge, you can distinguish an honest mechanic from one who is all about the money. In doing this, you can decide who is best to trust with your money, your car and your safety. We want you to be empowered to make the best decisions when it comes to getting your car repaired.
Most mechanics are very honest and can be trusted but you should always be knowledgeable in case you come across the Shady McGrady mechanic. Because, you deserve fair repair!
What other red flags have let you know a mechanic was being dishonest? Tell of your experiences in the comments below. Also, please share your opinions of the article so I can continuously improve my content.
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If you have any questions or comments drop them below or send us a message here. We’d love to hear from you. And remember – knowledge is the key to a fair repair.