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| Education and Financial

11/25/13

Friender Bender: Keeping car repair costs down isn't a one man job

You don't know much about cars, but you know enough to know something is wrong with yours.
Fear typically sets in for those uninformed consumers who must begrudgingly bring their car to a mechanic or dealership in the hopes that honesty truly is the best policy.
That isn't always the case as even the most trusted and ardent mechanics often succumb to the pressure of taking a few liberties with your bill, figuring that most customers probably won't ask too many questions for fear of sounding silly or stupid.
That practice is all too common and could result in a simple repair costing you double or triple, thanks to an overly eager and money hungry garage getting the better of you simply because you aren't as intelligent when it comes to cars.
If you don't believe this happens, think about the last time you received a quote on a repair and then opted to get a second opinion on what exactly is wrong with your car, truck or SUV. Did you notice that the amount of the estimate differs from one garage to another? That could suggest that hourly rates vary and the location where a mechanic finds his parts differs from one garage to another.

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It also could easily be interpreted as a highly organized and concentrated effort to steal from the customer.
Your best defense when it comes to overzealous mechanics is a good offense. You're perfectly within your rights to question anything you see on the bill, and calling a wholesale parts store to check pricing is definitely acceptable. That call is no different than a reporter double checking the facts within a story.
If you're still unsure exactly what you're dealing with when it comes to repairs, you might want to visit RepairPal, a website that allows you to get a legitimate price on what a car repair should cost.
RepairPal takes into consideration where you live based on entering your zip code, and you simply submit a list of what is reportedly wrong with your vehicle.
RepairPal is incredibly detailed with its findings and delivers consumers a range as far as what they can expect to pay. If they report back that you're looking at repair bills between $300-400 dollars and your friendly neighborhood mechanic says $800, that's a serious red flag on the field.
You now have help when it comes to challenging what so called experts have to say about car repairs and eliminating the act of mechanics adding unnecessary charges for the sake of padding their pockets at your expense.
This repair estimator technology is long overdue, and a site like RepairPal is finally the friend you've always wanted to consult just before your car heads into the shop for service.

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