Tips on How to Prevent Being Scammed by a Mechanic

It’s no secret that cars are expensive; even a relatively cheap car like a sedan costs an average of $9,122 to own over its lifespan, and Americans spend an average of $750 annually on car maintenance. And yet, 27% of Americans report being dissatisfied with repair services they’ve received from a mechanic, with most being upset at the costs and improper repairs. How can American drivers save money on car repair costs?

The most commonly-made repairs address the engine, tires and rims, timing belts, tire pressure monitoring systems, brakes, and suspension. The engine is the most vital part of your car, so it requires the most repairs (almost 65,000 cases of engine repair have been reported in the U.S since 1996). Your tires have a 2-4 lifespan on average, but this can decline if you drive on bad roads that damage your tires. Timing belts, while inexpensive, require intensive and thus, expensive labor.
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The most common repairs aren’t usually the most expensive repairs, however. A blown motor can cost up to $4,000 to fix, while a transmission replacement can cost between $1,800 and $3,500. The head gasket can cost between $1,200 and $1,600 to repair, and your air conditioning compressor can cost up to $600 to replace plus additional service costs.

You can avoid common scams (such as charging for services that are advertised for free or using inferior parts) by using mechanics that your trusted friends and family have recommended. Look for mechanics endorsed by AAA, and ask questions about your repairs so that you’re fully educated on what your mechanic is doing. Pay in full only after the agreed-upon repairs have been completed, and help keep trustworthy mechanics in business by recommending them to friends and family.

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