Two Key Things to Remember when Getting a Price from an Auto Mechanic

September 4, 2012

The very thought of having to get a price from an auto mechanic is enough to send some otherwise perfectly logical adults running for the hills.

But getting a fair price from a mechanic doesn’t have to be hard if you can remember two things: stick to what you’re there for; and cheaper doesn’t always mean better.

Some mechanics are known for inflating their prices by adding on all kinds of services or new parts that pad the bill, but that aren’t really necessary for your car. Make sure that if you’re going in for an oil change, you only get a quote for an oil change and nothing else. Be wary of mechanics that try to up-sell you on things like air filters, and that they can show you exactly where your filter is, and how dirty it is before you make a decision. Likewise, if you go in for new brake pads and the mechanic suggests you need new shoes as well, you’ll know they’re not being honest if you just replaced your brake shoes two months ago. Know your vehicle and the servicing it’s had done to it, and no mechanic will be able to run up the price on you.

When it comes to the servicing your vehicle receives, the quality of the job is the most important thing because it’s your safety that’s in the mechanic’s hands. So while you of course want to get the best price for the job, you also want to make sure that the job is competently done by a qualified mechanic. And different parts and labor do cost certain things, and you can go by general averages. If all the shops on one street charge $200 for a set of new tires, with the exception of one shop, that only charges $50 for the same set, you’re right to wonder why that is, and how their service is going to reflect that price.

Finding this balance when you’re shopping for an auto mechanic is important. You don’t want to overpay for parts and services that you don’t need, but you also want to make sure that you leave with a car that has been competently and properly cared for.