8 Ways to Avoid Getting Ripped off by a Mechanic

This post is in collaboration with Switched on Media

Yes, I have been ripped off by a mechanic a number of times in my life, my lack of knowledge taken advantage of and lack of confidence to ask the right questions. It often seems to happen with women too and that’s just not fair.  Don’t get me wrong, not all mechanics are like this, but unfortunately, there are a few lemons.

avoid being ripped off by a mechanic
Really, it doesn’t come down to knowing MORE about the mechanics of a car so you don’t get ripped off, it’s about being smart in the questions you ask and how you deal with the situation.

So next time your SUV, hatchback, sedan or ‘Mums Taxi’ is due for a service, follow these tips:

Use a reputable mechanic

Select a reputable mechanic. Perhaps it’s someone your friend or family have used with good results or they are part of your local Auto Association like RACQ or RACV.

Know what’s due

Make sure you have a good idea of what service items are due at your next service. You can do this by checking your log book.

Look out for surprise extras

If any extra work is ever required on your car, the mechanic should always check with you first before carrying it out.  Make sure you check your invoice for any surprise extras before paying.

Know your car

By paying close attention to your car you will have a better idea if the mechanic is trying to sell you things that your car may not need. For example, if you’ve never seen any oil leaks on the floor of your garage but your mechanic says you have an oil leak, an alarm bell might ring. The same as a mechanic suggesting a wheel alignment when you already had one less than 10,000km ago. Read my article ‘A Dummies Guide to Car Maintenance’ for some tips on what to look out for.

Get a second opinion

Always ask for a written quote and get a second opinion.  Shop around, get a third or fourth opinion if it makes you feel better. A bit of time on the phone could avoid you having to pay a lot more than you need to.

Have confidence

It’s a well-known fact that women are targeted by some mechanics, go in with confidence and be on guard for anything that seems dodgy and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Warranty

When it comes to car warranties, if your mechanic tries pointing out what it does and does not cover, if in doubt always contact your local Consumer Affairs department.

Instinct

Trust your gut instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t use the mechanic.

It’s not a nice feeling when you’re ripped off and feel like you don’t have the knowledge to know any better. Well don’t worry about that, simply follow these tips and you’ll end up with more money in your pocket and increased confidence when it comes to your next service.

Have you ever had any bad experiences? What’s your advice?

Looking for car insurance? Check out my Youi car insurance review. 

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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17 Comments

  1. July 7, 2015 / 4:45 pm

    Great tips Eva! I actually have a beloved Honda CRV SUV but she is 15 yrs old and has 230ks on the clock so my mechanic has become a close friend!! I got ripped off twice before finding my current one, some are just shonky a**holes!!
    Mumma McD recently posted…20 signs you’re actually a grown upMy Profile

    • July 9, 2015 / 9:16 am

      Oh, great car! 😉 Yes, it turns out that way doesn’t it, your mechanic builds a relationship with your car. But that’s a good thing, they know it inside out and can look after it .

    • July 9, 2015 / 9:18 am

      Yes, I must admit that when I can, I delegate to my husband too but only because it’s his half of running the house, I look after all of the other things like paying the bills, doing the groceries. But when it does come to me having to get new tyres or something fixed because hubby can’t, I really like to know I’m not being played.

  2. August 31, 2015 / 4:48 pm

    A well-maintained car has a higher selling value which will help you acquire a better return on your investment if you decide to sell it.

  3. December 12, 2015 / 8:16 am

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  4. March 8, 2016 / 3:21 am

    Great tips. I like your statement that it’s better to know what questions to ask than it is to know about the mechanics of the car. I hardly know anything about cars, so I always have to be careful when going to a mechanic so I don’t pay more than I have to. I usually only go to mechanics that were recommended to me by a close friend or family member. I also like your advice to look out for surprise extras, because unfortunately there are some people out there who will try to sneak extra fees past you. Thanks!

  5. March 12, 2016 / 2:13 am

    I agree that you should know your car. Otherwise, I think there’s the risk a mechanic will try to take advantage of your ignorance. Either that or you just won’t do a very good idea explaining the symptoms your car has been experiencing.

  6. May 17, 2016 / 4:13 am

    Finding a trustworthy mechanic is really important. However, knowing these 8 tips is a great way to avoid any problems, no matter which mechanic you go to. Having confidence is a great tip, and one that not many people, who don’t know cars, actually do. Thanks for the advice!

  7. July 26, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    This article is really good and very informative. Really helpful for people who needs to save but doesn’t want to loose the care for their vehicle.

  8. September 28, 2016 / 5:51 am

    Hi
    Oh, great car! 😉 Yes, it turns out that way doesn’t it, your mechanic builds a relationship with your car. But that’s a good thing, they know it inside out and can look after it .

    Reply

  9. October 25, 2016 / 4:38 pm

    Car repairs may be so expensive at some times. The best way to avoid getting rip off is studying and getting more familiar with your car.

  10. December 8, 2016 / 5:46 am

    Awesome advice! Using a good mechanic with positive reviews or recommendations is a great way to ensure you are getting the highest quality repair job there is. Thanks for sharing!

  11. December 20, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    Car repairs may be so expensive at some times. The best way to avoid getting rip off is studying and getting more familiar with your car.

  12. February 22, 2017 / 7:15 pm

    Car repairs may be so expensive at some times. The best way to avoid getting rip off is studying and getting more familiar with your car.