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Old 01-06-2013, 10:14 PM   #1
Raizinman
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Default Don’t get taken in the Repair Shop

Don’t get taken in the Repair Shop

There are lots of car people on this forum. I’m looking for a list of things a consumer can do to ‘Not Get Taken in The Repair Shop’ such as:

1) Request an estimate before the work is started
2) Request the old parts be returned to you
3) If possible, watch the repairs being done
4) Be aware of what parts can be replaced rebuilt, as opposed to new, such as starters, alternators, water pumps, etc. So that you can have the option if funds are low.

What else can a consumer do to prevent being ‘ripped off’?
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:35 PM   #2
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Learn how to turn a wrench

Get quotes from different sources. Ask around and find a reliable mechanic. Word of mouth goes a long way.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:07 AM   #3
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raizinman View Post
Don’t get taken in the Repair Shop

There are lots of car people on this forum. I’m looking for a list of things a consumer can do to ‘Not Get Taken in The Repair Shop’ such as:

1) Request an estimate before the work is started
2) Request the old parts be returned to you
3) If possible, watch the repairs being done
4) Be aware of what parts can be replaced rebuilt, as opposed to new, such as starters, alternators, water pumps, etc. So that you can have the option if funds are low.

What else can a consumer do to prevent being ‘ripped off’?
Have an idea as to what's wrong with your car, ask internet forums on approximate cost to repair.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:48 AM   #5
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What do you do when work you didn't commission was done anyway?
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:00 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Raizinman View Post
2) Request the old parts be returned to you

What else can a consumer do to prevent being ripped off
Be wary of this. Some parts, being rebuildable may come with a core charge and you may get stuck with it.

Last edited by Railgun; 01-07-2013 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Raizinman View Post
Don’t get taken in the Repair Shop

There are lots of car people on this forum. I’m looking for a list of things a consumer can do to ‘Not Get Taken in The Repair Shop’ such as:

1) Request an estimate before the work is started
2) Request the old parts be returned to you
3) If possible, watch the repairs being done
4) Be aware of what parts can be replaced rebuilt, as opposed to new, such as starters, alternators, water pumps, etc. So that you can have the option if funds are low.

What else can a consumer do to prevent being ‘ripped off’?
Most of what you said will do no good to most. When I was a mechanic most did not know what a fuel pump looks like. I could have pulled one off a old Carb chevy and said it came from their F/I Ford and the most would not know.
As said learn at least the basic stuff for your car. That way you will at least have a idea if you are being treated badly.


Quote:
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What do you do when work you didn't commission was done anyway?
Check your state but most require the customer to OK any repairs. I think there is a $ min. so check as in NC where I was a mechanic you had to get the customer to ok all repairs. But that can be over the phone so check reviews at yelp and other sites to see if there is a pattern of abuse.

The biggest thing is word of mouth, esp if its a smaller town like I grew up in. Coupons are, from my Exp., a bad sign. Good honest shops got customers by word of mouth. The rip off shops, mostly national chains, had to use coupons.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:20 AM   #8
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Join a consumer advocacy group that does random inspections and recommends garages. Otherwise make a list of the local garages. Either way, from that list start talking to the garages to see which one seems to be easiest to deal with. Ask them questions about your car and see their reaction. Some mechanics can be real assholes in person and you can spot them with 10 seconds of a convo. People buy from people they like and they trust. No different than buying anything else.

The key thing here is if they make a mistake and you are on first name basis, they will usually fess up and make it right. Some stranger might tell you to go fish.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:29 AM   #9
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Learn how to turn a wrench
agreed.

I do wish places (local CC for example) would teach a basic mechanics course. to do basic mechanic work. such as brakes, starter, fuel pump (all 3 wich i have changed by reading books) etc.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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Word of mouth, absolutely.

I was recommended our current mechanic by my uncle. We've used their shop for years and they take care of what the say they will, and are fair with the price.

I was talking to a co-worker recently and he was describing his mechanic in our conversation, and things were sounding eerily similar. So I throw out the, "Who is your mechanic?"

Sure enough, same guys.

If you can't go from friend/family recommendations, try to find some reviews on an impartial site. Next best bet, IMO.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:07 AM   #11
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agreed.

I do wish places (local CC for example) would teach a basic mechanics course. to do basic mechanic work. such as brakes, starter, fuel pump (all 3 wich i have changed by reading books) etc.
It's a shame nobody teaches this anymore. I wish I had taken auto shop in high school. Though this was at a time when "smart" kids didn't take shop. The school system implicitly discouraged it unless they thought you had no future. Shame really. For something so integral to modern life, a lot of people are completely baffled by how a car works.

Working at the rental car place did give me a chance to hang around a lot of "car guys". So I picked up a lot of knowledge that way. I can only do basic repairs like change an air filter or a bulb. I feel I could manage an oil change with the proper tools.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:12 AM   #12
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It's a shame nobody teaches this anymore. I wish I had taken auto shop in high school. Though this was at a time when "smart" kids didn't take shop. The school system implicitly discouraged it unless they thought you had no future. Shame really. For something so integral to modern life, a lot of people are completely baffled by how a car works.

Working at the rental car place did give me a chance to hang around a lot of "car guys". So I picked up a lot of knowledge that way. I can only do basic repairs like change an air filter or a bulb. I feel I could manage an oil change with the proper tools.
This would be nice. My highschool did something like this for computers, which got me started in the field. I don't think I'd have become a mechanic with such a course, but I can see a lot of areas where I'd have spent much more than necessary without doing it myself.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:57 AM   #13
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It's a shame nobody teaches this anymore. I wish I had taken auto shop in high school. Though this was at a time when "smart" kids didn't take shop. The school system implicitly discouraged it unless they thought you had no future. Shame really. For something so integral to modern life, a lot of people are completely baffled by how a car works.
Haha... If you ask me, smart kids take what they want and learn things they want to learn which they see as valuable. I took like 6 high school auto courses including one auto body and I don't regret it at all. I love knowing how to work on a car and it even helps worlds in diagnosing and helping others. It saves me money and it helps others as well. It is a valuable life skill.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raizinman View Post
1) Request an estimate before the work is started
2) Request the old parts be returned to you
3) If possible, watch the repairs being done
4) Be aware of what parts can be replaced rebuilt, as opposed to new, such as starters, alternators, water pumps, etc. So that you can have the option if funds are low.
1) Isn't this required of any work done anyways?

3) This is probably not possible due to insurance reasons. No place (officially) allows non-employees in shop areas.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:49 AM   #15
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1) Isn't this required of any work done anyways?

3) This is probably not possible due to insurance reasons. No place (officially) allows non-employees in shop areas.
Viewing window or CCTV.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:49 AM   #16
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Most of what you said will do no good to most. When I was a mechanic most did not know what a fuel pump looks like. I could have pulled one off a old Carb chevy and said it came from their F/I Ford and the most would not know.
As said learn at least the basic stuff for your car. That way you will at least have a idea if you are being treated badly.
Whereas most people do not know the differenece between a MAP sensor and an IAC sensor, it would not take too many times for a tech to get caught. Many consumers are now scratching their signature on their oil filter to avoid a tech from just wiping it off and never changing it.

I remember my dad getting into an argument with a shop when he brought in a car for an intake gasket. He had to wait for the job 4 hours until it was done, but the shop charge him 7 hours labor. He could not understand how the shop could charge him more time than the car was acutally there. Obviously shops use a flat rate manual that gives the average time per job.

How would you like to have a plumber come over to snake a pipe and then be charged 3 hours, but he was only working and there for only 1 hour? Yep, auto mechanics is a great field to be in.

Last edited by Raizinman; 01-09-2013 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:01 AM   #17
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^


Thats the norm on hours. If I am good and can do it faster I still get paid for the "job" not less because I was better than others.
How about the other way. If the book says 7 and the tech was really slow do you pay 12 since they took their time?
Book hours are to keep everyone honest and compare 1 shop/tech to another as well.

Your plumber example is not apples to apples, not even close. Its like saying it takes 1 hour to do a intake gasket on a ford so it should take 1 hour on a Chevy as well. Houses are custom and each one can have different pipe material, sizing, let alone issues. On a car an intake on a Corvette should be the same as all other same year non-modified Corvettes. That’s why the auto field has book rates and houses cannot.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:15 AM   #18
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4) Be aware of what parts can be replaced rebuilt, as opposed to new, such as starters, alternators, water pumps, etc. So that you can have the option if funds are low.
The labor you're gonna pay to rebuild a part like that is going to outweigh just putting a new/reman one in.

I would say if funds are low realize that every single shop, independent or national can discount tickets or change markups. So if you want the work done don't be afraid to barter a little bit. Just don't do it like a car dealer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by power_hour View Post
Some mechanics can be real assholes in person and you can spot them with 10 seconds of a convo.
Some of the most honest technicians I've ever met were giant assholes. Not all but most technicians I've ever worked with were anti-social to a degree and hate talking to customers. I'd be more afraid of the guy who talks too well. He's the one who can sell you s**t you don't need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raizinman View Post
I remember my dad getting into an argument with a shop when he brought in a car for an intake gasket. He had to wait for the job 4 hours until it was done, but the shop charge him 7 hours labor. He could not understand how the shop could charge him more time than the car was acutally there. Obviously shops use a flat rate manual that gives the average time per job.

How would you like to have a plumber come over to snake a pipe and then be charged 3 hours, but he was only working and there for only 1 hour? Yep, auto mechanics is a great field to be in.
You're also paying for probably 10, 20 maybe even 30 years of blood, sweat, tears and experience with those 7 flag hours, not to mention some times upwards of 6 figures worth of tools.

The best advice in this thread is go by word of mouth for a shop. It doesn't matter what name they have over the door its all about who runs the place and the kind of people they keep around.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:35 AM   #19
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Haha... If you ask me, smart kids take what they want and learn things they want to learn which they see as valuable. I took like 6 high school auto courses including one auto body and I don't regret it at all. I love knowing how to work on a car and it even helps worlds in diagnosing and helping others. It saves me money and it helps others as well. It is a valuable life skill.
At the time it was strongly encouraged that you pursue university. Course difficulty was even ranked by university, college, or workplace. Shop classes falling into the latter category, which was basically treated like a remedial program. Ironically, it's the skilled tradespeople making mad cash today and the university grads struggling to find success.

I would love if the local community college offered adult education in mechanics. Unfortunately they don't.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:28 AM   #20
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I don't take my car to mechanics and do my all work.

Even though I do know a great mechanic, he is expensive and can be sketchy at times.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:23 PM   #21
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word of mouth is the best way to judge them IMO. if you dont know anyone, find some feedback online about them and decide from there. as for getting the old parts back, its a nice idea but not always possible. my friends shop will always ask if they want the parts back, and he always shows everything to them before they sign off and pay. if theres a core, he tells them up front so they know they arent getting it back, but they get to see it all before it gets returned.

i do most all th work on my vehicles, as well as friends when they need help. i love working on cars, its a hobby for me. since i cant afford to work on mine, ill work on other peoples cars.

all my kids know how to work on a vehicle, as well as the maintenance aspect. my son has taken it to a few new levels, hes done full system replaces for cooling, brakes and clutch systems. hes helping me pull and replace a motor at the moment, and then probably going to help me rebuild the blown motor after we get the car on the road again. this should be taught to all kids, either at school or at home. its essential info for any adult.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:25 AM   #22
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I remember my dad getting into an argument with a shop when he brought in a car for an intake gasket. He had to wait for the job 4 hours until it was done, but the shop charge him 7 hours labor. He could not understand how the shop could charge him more time than the car was acutally there. Obviously shops use a flat rate manual that gives the average time per job.
Multiple people working on the vehicle?
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