Car repair shops don’t typically have the best reputation for being honest. A quick Google search for “car repair shop scams” will result in pages and pages of ways car repair shops take advantage of the unsuspecting car owner.Given that a typical car repair can cost hundreds or thousands or dollars, you can’t afford to get tricked by a car repair shop. To help you avoid falling for the most common scams, we’ve put together a quick guide to make you a more savvy consumer:1. Ask to have repair details and warranties written down. Is your repair shop asking you to sign a blank work authorization form without giving you estimates and other project details? If so, this is a major red flag, since you will likely end up with a huge repair bill at the very end.
2. Do your due diligence and consult your car manual before you agree to an engine flush. Ever had a repair shop tell you that you need an engine flush because your oil is “dirty”? Unnecessary coolant flushes are often recommended by un-reputable repair shops, since it’s an easy way for them to make a couple extra bucks. But before you get an engine flush that you don’t need, consult your car manual, since most cars are built to only need an engine flush after 100,000+ miles. You’ll likely only need an engine flush if you’ve been driving the same automobile for a couple years or if you see a buildup of greasy substance beneath the oil cap.
3. Request to keep your old parts. Unfortunately, some car repair shops will bill you for replacement parts when they didn’t actually replace the part. By requesting your old parts back, you can be sure that the parts were replaced, and that they even needed to be replaced in the first place.
4. Don’t fall for a repair quote that’s too good to be true. One of the ways sleazy car repair shops trap unsuspecting customers is by offering low-ball pricing. After the unwitting customer signs the contract, the repair shop then tacks on extra maintenance and labor fees so the final number on the bill looks nothing like the initial estimate. Some shops have even been known to withhold the customer’s car until they pay off the unfairly high repair bill.
5. Ask lots of questions. Before choosing your car repair shop, ask to see their certifications and the equipment that they use to make repairs. If they refuse to provide you with the information you’re looking for, it’s good sign that the repair shop isn’t going to be 100% transparent with the services and fees after you sign a contract.
At Revolution Motor Works, we opened up our shop in 2014 when we got tired of seeing scammy car repair shops taking advantage of uninformed drivers. We wanted to bring a “new era of automobile service”, with stellar customer service and ethical repairs. As a family-run business, we’re dedicated to providing honest and transparent car repair services to drivers in Maryland.