Mechanics are salespeople, and like brokers they often have more knowledge about their products and services than the average consumer. Therefore, they are viewed as professionals and without taking the time to learn about cars, customers have no choice but to trust their recommendations are in the customers’ best interest.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Just like in any business, some salespeople will recommend unnecessary services if there’s an opportunity to earn some additional money. As a result of a general distrust that may be due to bad experiences, a feeling of being taken for a ride by a mechanic in the past, or the trend in financial media to warn people about shady mechanics, customers are increasingly wary about their interactions.
Kiplinger offers some tips for anyone needing car repairs. It comes down to education. To reduce the chances of someone taking advantage of you in the auto shop, know what you are talking about and don’t be afraid to ask questions that show you have a grasp of how everything works.
As cars have become more like computers, any driver has access to the same diagnostic information that mechanics have. The article recommends the CarMD device, which seems to be a good value at $99. The device will work with any car made after 1996. Once it is plugged into the car, it will download information from the car’s computer. When complete, you can plug the device into your desktop computer and the software will generate a report.
The article also suggests shopping around and getting a second opinion.
How do you deal with auto mechanics? Have you ever had a bad experience?
Published or updated December 28, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.