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Troubleshoot: Tips to Avoid Repair Shop Rip-offs

Troubleshoot: Tips to Avoid Repair Shop Rip-offs

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As a car owner, you either probably have a repair shop horror story or know someone who does. However, this should not deter you from maintaining your vehicle routinely. There are plenty of legitimate and honest service departments keeping a majority of their customers satisfied with timely, accurately-priced repairs and tune-ups. Follow these tips provided to avoid expensive service repair nightmares and unnecessary repair fees. 

1. Selecting the right service centre.
No amount of research and precautions will ever replace the trust factor. Check with family and friends for recommendations. Platforms like DealerRater, Yelp, and Google+ are great networks to do forefront review research. Head over to your community's Better Business Bureau to see if a shop is registered and what their current ranking is. Peruse their social media presence, especially if they have one for customer commenting. You want to make sure to look into their certification and accreditation. By Ontario law, for a mechanic to remove, discharge, handle and dispose refrigerants in air condition units (including vehicles), he or she must have their Ozone Depletion Prevention certificate. 

2. The price is right. 
One of the recurrent themes that we see in the auto-industry is over-pricing. Rarely, does one ever purchase a vehicle after visiting just one dealership. The same is true with service departments. If you have been given a quote you consider high, or even if you want to verify it with a second set of eyes, ask for a written copy by fax or email. Call into another repair department but avoid providing them with the pricing info from your first quote. If the price sounds too good to be true, be cautious. Quality and genuine parts may cost a little more, but they are well-backed with warranties and built to last. Make sure to walk away from any pressure - even the slightest. Good shops will reimburse minor inspection charges if the work ends up being done in their garage. Repair fees are charged based on labour fees on a per-job basis. It is known as "job-stacking" if the garage or service department bills you for taking off the the wheels to access the brakes. Definitely consider a second opinion. 

3. Upselling and unnecessary repairs.
If you have taken in your two-year-old or newer vehicle for an oil change, and say wheel alignment, you'd be excuse if you were surprise at a call from a technician indicating the need for a brake service. In some cases, it may be a valid reason for additional work, but in other situations it might just be an over-eager service consultant whose pay plan is based on work sold. In this case, casually ask to postpone any questionable work until you can be shown evidence that its necessary. Refer to your owner's manual to see what needs to be serviced after certain mileage. For example, if your manual says brake pads should be replaced after 100k but you're persuaded to get them replaced at 60k then it's best to look into the case further. If the garage is persistent with early replacements, bluntly ask why. 

4. Repeat repairs. 
You've taken your vehicle in for a check engine light or a strange noise, and authorized the repairs after receiving a fair estimate. But, the next day the light or noise reappears. We understand how frustrating it can be for any car owner. Before you authorize any repair, do your due diligence and ask what the shop's repair policy is. Read over any fine text and before taking your vehicle home, arrange a road-test with the technician. The last thing you want to hear is, "oh, THAT leak!" after you just spent $1,200. 

At Car Nation Canada, we understand the value of a seamless customer experience. We have technicians who are ready to provide you with answers and solutions that you need in a timely manner. To schedule a no hassle guaranteed service appointment at any one of our dealerships, simply fill out the form here

Categories: News, Parts, Service, Body Shop