How to Compare Car Repair Prices
With so many auto shops advertising so many different prices for the same services, how can you figure out which car repair prices are the best? And how do you know whether the mechanic is doing good work for your money? This article offers a few things to keep in mind when selecting an affordable, reliable repair job:
Get Referrals from Trusted Sources
One of the easiest ways to find a good, reasonably priced mechanic is to get referrals from friends and family. Another great way to search for a reputable auto shop is by doing a web search. Many local sites have customer ratings and reviews. It's always a good idea to check if the repair shop is a member of the Better Business Bureau or has had any complaints filed against them. A few of these steps will go a long way in ensuring you don't get ripped off.
Get Quotes from Shops with ASE Certified Mechanics
While your cousin Billy, your cousin Billy's friend or someone else you know may be willing to give you a great price on fixing your car under the table, it's often not worth the money you are saving. Often times these fixes are not permanent or you wind up having to go to a reputable mechanic anyways, sometimes with the problem worse off than when you started. ASE certified mechanics have to go through a series of certification processes that demonstrate their aptitude to repair various parts of a car. In order to maintain that certification, they must also be involved in continuing education as cars become more complicated. While you may pay more for the repair, you can feel comfortable knowing the job is being done by an accredited professional.
Get Multiple Estimates
Dealerships will usually be the most costly estimate you get. You don't have to get the work done there, but it provides a great starting point to know what you'll be getting into. Once you have gotten their estimate, go to three other repair shops in town for their best price. If your car is still under the factory warranty, check your warranty before you have any work done by an outside shop. Some repairs must be fixed by a factory-authorized repair center or local dealer. Any repairs made by an unapproved shop may void your warranty.
Get Quotes in Person
This step can save you lots of money. Take your car in to get a quote if possible. Often times it is difficult to diagnose problems and estimate the cost of repair over the phone. Shops will usually give you a low quote to get your car in their garage. This can lead to you getting socked with extra work being done on your car that you didn't expect. Having the shop actually look at the car can give both you and the mechanic a better idea of what is going to be involved in the repair, thus eliminating "surprises" in the bill when the work is complete.