This post originally appeared at Dinks Finance.As you may remember, in 2007 I bought a Honda Civic (actually in 2007 I overpaid for a Honda Civic) and in 2010 I sold it. I loved my car but I didn’t use it enough to justify the cost. Some days I miss my Honda Civic but most days I enjoy saving the money. The purchase price of our car is one expense, but the upkeep and maintenance of our car is a whole other expense. The problem with car repairs and maintenance is that they cannot always be scheduled, sometimes things happen and we are not financially prepared.
Check out these tips from MSN to make sure that you don’t ripped off the next time you visit your mechanic:
– Battery Problems. The next time a mechanic tells you that your car battery needs to be replaced, ask for a second opinion or ask to see the battery life report. Very often mechanics unnecessarily charge to replace a battery when in fact the battery has nothing to do with the problem at hand. I have heard people complain that they paid $300 to get their car battery replaced and their initial car trouble remained to exist.
– A “Tune Up”. Tune up is a mechanical term for rip you off. It is a general term used to over charge clients for services that may or may not be rendered.
– Break Pad Replacement. My Honda may have been new, but before my 2007 Honda Civic purchase I drove several older cars. Trust me when I say that you will know when your breaks need to be replaced, we don’t need someone to tell us when our breaks need to be changed. Squeaky breaks do not necessarily need to be replaced, they may just need to be oiled.
– An Oil Change. I have been told that an oil change should cost no more than $25. I always took my Honda to the dealership and paid almost double that price. If you bring your own oil to the mechanic the price can even be cheaper. Very often a routine oil change can open a mechanical can of worms for them to charge us for sever other (unnecessary) services.
– Your Transmission Problem. I understand that a transmission is a vital piece of a car, but it is also very often one of the biggest mechanical scams and rip offs at a garage. Transmission repairs are the automobile equivalent of condo fees on a new construction. Mechanics can give us a quote to repair or change our transmission before the work starts, but after the job is done it could end up costing us double or triple the initial quote.
– The Lifetime Parts Guarantee. A Lifetime Guarantee on car parts is like life insurance, we pay the fees but we very rarely enjoy the profits because of fine print. Only specific pieces qualify for coverage and the majority of other pieces are not covered. A Lifetime Parts Guarantee usually applies to one particular piece of a car part. We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that we will receive free complete Break Pads or free Mufflers for the rest of the life of our car.
– Replacing Car Parts. We should always ask for our original car parts back when a mechanic tells us that they have been replaced. This ensures that our car part was actually replaced and it also ensures that mechanics are not “replacing” our car parts with other peoples used parts.
– Get a Second Opinion. Actually I suggest that we get three quotes. No matter how “urgent” the mechanic tells us that we need the repairs we should always take the time to get a second opinion, it could save us a lot of money.