Potential Auto Mechanic Scams to Watch Out For

You pull in for gas and the attendant offers to check your oil. He does and says you need a quart. He grabs one from the case and proceeds to pour it into your engine. But what does he pour in? If you were not watching you may have just paid for nothing. The container was empty.

You stop at a service station and the attendant looks under the hood. What you may not see is a sharp razor blade that is used to cut at a belt or a hose. So stay on top of any stranger under your hood.

Your car is on the lift and the technician calls you over to look at your leaking strut or shock absorbers. It looks pretty serious, but it may be because he just squirted oil out of an oil can onto it.

The long and short of it is, you always have to be on the lookout for scams. Following are two of the most popular scams in the business:

Giveaways or low prices for oil changes offer the repair facility an opportunity to look over and under your car. You may legitimately be in need of a repair, but a dishonest mechanic may be luring you onto his lift with the intention of ripping you off.

You pick up your car and pay for the repair. You drive away and never give a second thought as to whether the repair was actually done or the necessary parts have actually been replaced. Before you leave your car for repairs, be curious, ask questions, and look to see what you are being told you need. And ask why.

A mechanic may show you someone else’s broken parts when you request to see your replaced parts. If you are suspicious, ask to keep the replaced parts to verify if they came from your car. Ask to see the new parts that were installed on the vehicle. In many cases they are easily visible and noticeably brand-new.

And then there is the superscam: killing two birds with one stone. In this scam the mechanic scams both the consumer and the repair facility.

In large facilities, the mechanic who is assigned to a particular job signs for and picks up from the parts counter the necessary parts to complete the job. He then proceeds to install the parts – but does he? An unscrupulous mechanic may install just some or even none of these parts. Instead he pockets them to be sold on the street or to be installed on a job he takes on the side, perhaps on the weekend.

In highly supervised shops or in small shops where the owner or manager has a “hands on” policy, this scenario is less likely to happen.

Protect yourself and ask to see the old parts. Ask what went wrong with them. Ask to view the new parts that were installed on the vehicle. Many parts are visible at a glance and will be noticeably new and shiny. Make sure you are not looking at parts with a fresh coat of paint. Other parts may be more internal, such as a thermostat or an engine seal. The key is to be curious about the repair from the outset. This will put the repair facility on guard. After all, if you ask a lot of good questions before the repair, chances are you will be inquisitive after the repair.

Related posts:

  1. Finding a Good Mechanic
  2. Should You Pay a Mechanic Who Screwed Up?
  3. Pros and Cons of Auto Repair Shop Types
  4. Why Do Some Auto Mechanics Have Such Bad Reputations?
  5. Does Your Auto Technology Cost You?

Filed Under: Security & Insurance


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