openclipart.org, morguefile.com, frank lingMost of us have seen a bill from the auto repair shop, are surprised at the amount, and have wondered, “Why is it so expensive? Are they overcharging and cheating me?” These doubts especially happen when you are not familiar with a new service center.

There are certain red flags that let you know you may have been a victim of a billing fraud. While these indicators are not infallible they all serve as good warning signs.

The best way to prevent an auto repair shop from ripping you off is to find one that is honest and has a good reputation. Even so, it still makes sense to review the shop charges. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Check Brake Charges

One favorite ploy of dishonest auto repair shops, to increase their profits, is to recommend the replacement of the brake rotors. The rotors are the metal disks that the brake pads press against to stop the wheels from turning.

If the rotors show signs of wear such as deep ridges that go around these disks, this means they need servicing. (You can tell by just reaching into the wheel and feeling for unevenness on the rotor.)

Instead of replacing the rotors, which will cost you big-time in labor and parts, just ask to have them “turned out” by machining the rotors on a lathe. This process will smooth out the surfaces and will save you lots of money. If the rotors appear to be fine and the mechanic still recommends rotor servicing, you may be getting ripped off.

Playing On Your Guilt

Shady auto repair shops may try to pressure you into paying for repair work by saying things that make you feel guilty. “I wouldn’t drive my friends in that car,” or the more forceful, “I can’t let you drive the car in that condition because it would be against the law.”

Saying it is the law to fix your car is a lie. Making statements that make you uneasy about the repair are most likely just sales tactics. If you experience this sort of pressure, go to another auto repair shop.

Watch Out for Free Tire Rotations or Car Inspections

Someone once said that there are no free lunches, or in other words, there is always a catch. Overall, it is good advice. In the case of free coupon offers from service centers such as car inspections, battery inspections, or tire rotations, be extra careful.

10 times out of 10, the auto repair shop will find “issues” with your car. They are not really giving you anything for free because they’re hoping to charge you for “recommended service” such as a new battery, replacement filters, oil changes, brake pads, to make up for the freebie, and to make a profit.

If you do sign up for one of these giveaways, it is a good idea to know what the general condition of your car is. That way you will be on the alert for unnecessary repair work.

Double Dipping Labor Charges

Let’s say you have authorized a water pump replacement, but while the mechanic is removing the other parts that are in the way, he finds another related part problem and tells you that it needs replacement as well. You say, “OK, since you’re already there, go ahead.”

However, when you get the bill, you notice that you were charged labor for the water pump, PLUS the other part. This is double dipping because the labor it took to remove the part that was in the way was already part of the labor to replace the water pump. You shouldn't have to pay a double labor charge for work that is already part of the original work order.

To prevent this from happening, inspect your repair bill closely and challenge any labor charges that aren’t itemized, or seem to be out of place.

Source: Supercompressor

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