Getting your car fixed at a mechanic is a stressful experience, but it doesn't always have to be an expensive one. Keeping an eye on your bill and making sure to speak up when there's an error can mean the difference between balancing the budget and going broke.
Photo by Ernesto Andrade.
Over at Get Rich Slowly, April Dykman and Roger White share a story about a car repair gone horribly wrong: a simple broken rear brake light, which ended with a bill that was 25% over the original estimate. When confronted with the overage, the shop manager shrugged his shoulders and reversed the charges. A shyer customer would have just paid the bill and moved on.
Admittedly, it's not a trick that always works – more often you'll probably get a long lecture from the mechanic about pricing and labour costs. In these cases, the most you'll get is information to use if the mechanic contradicts himself on your next visit. It's also worth asking the mechanic what the hourly rate is, so you can be aware of how much money is floating out of your wallet while you wait for your repair.
In the worst case scenario, you can always ask for your old parts back if you think the mechanic is "repairing" things that aren't broken – after all, they're your parts, and you can take them elsewhere to find out if they really needed to be replaced. What are some of your tips to avoid being fleeced at the mechanic? Do you just do the work yourself? Share your tips in the comments.
How to Dispute Your Mechanic Bill [Get Rich Slowly]