Do Your HomeworkWhen you first realize that your vehicle needs to go to the shop, start researching what could be wrong with your car. Remember that knowledge is power. Having at least a vague idea of what the problem is will only help you in negotiating. There are several online sources to help you get started. Here are a few of our favorites:
Get DescriptiveDon’t be vague when you describe your car’s problem to the technician. Tell them exactly what sounds the car is making, and when it makes them.
You could also benefit from asking the mechanic to go for a test drive with you, so they can experience what you’re describing firsthand. Not only will this help them diagnose the issue, it also shows that you have a decent understanding of your car and car maintenance.
Check Your WarrantyIf you’re a fan of a certain local repair shop, it never hurts to call your local car dealership to see if the repair might be covered by your warranty at a non-affiliated shop. But, as great as your local mechanic may be, if the repairs they make aren’t covered by your warranty, it may be in your best interest to head to the dealership.
Get it in WritingMake sure you get an estimate for pricing before any work is done, and make sure you get it in writing! Getting a price estimate is the ideal time to do some negotiating or even to get a second opinion from another shop. Also be sure to ask that they contact you before they do any additional work. Sometimes once they start working they’ll find other problems, or even discover that what they thought was the problem ends up being something else. This will save you from the shock of getting a completely different bill than what your estimate was. This stage is a great time to request that they return your original parts to you, assuring that they replaced the correct parts. If you do ask for your parts back, make sure you dispose of them properly when you’re done with them.
Don’t Be Afraid to AskIf you get a bill back from the mechanic that is significantly higher than the estimate, don’t be afraid to ask the technician about it. If they are an honest professional, they will have a valid reason for the price jump and should be more than willing to explain it to you. Being shy could cost you, so don’t be afraid to speak up!
Surf the NetJust need a little regular maintenance, like an oil change or a tire rotation? You can find local coupons for these services through Groupon or other coupon services. Be sure to check out local online forums where people in your area may have already found great deals on the services that you need.
Remember: Cost Isn’t EverythingPurchasing a car is one of the most expensive things we buy in our lifetimes, and they can be essential to daily living. It may be more cost-effective in the long run to pay a little bit more to an experienced mechanic that can ensure everything gets fixed the way it should. Paying more initially might also keep the problem from rearing its ugly head again. Do you have any other pro tips on how to get the best deals on car maintenance? Share them with us on Facebook!
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