Dodge the Deception: Five Ways to Avoid Dishonest Mechanics

As you would expect, not every mechanic is untrustworthy, but when all of them are trying to earn a buck, it’s hard to decipher which ones are solely out for your money (and as much of it as possible). It’s impossible to tell whether or not a mechanic is dishonest by merely looking at him, but these five tactics can help you begin weeding out the less morally sound ones.

Grab Multiple Quotes

Before you sign your vehicle over to the first mechanic you go to, get multiple quotes instead. Some mechanics will charge "diagnostic fees" to avoid comparisons and early quotes and lock them into doing business, but there are still others out there who don’t do this. Find a mechanic who’s willing to look under your hood for free and give you a quote. Give them a call or check the internet prior to visiting the shop in person to avoid being pressured into diagnostic fees.

Get the Scoop from Real Reviews

If you want unbiased opinions on whether the mechanic in question is really worth doing business with, check out automotive service reviews. You can find these all over the place; check out your local forums or news sites, certified reviews on, or even find out by merely asking around. Third parties are the best source for unbiased information. Some of these review sites also rate the company by store location, so even if you are researching a chain, you can find out about the exact shop near you.

Get a Referral from a Trusted Source

If you know someone who you trust and has adequate knowledge of automobiles, find out what their recommendations are concerning mechanics. They will likely know others who are interested in cars  or work as mechanics. Additionally, take recommendations from people who have a favorite mechanic. Knowing people in the industry can be a great way to find those shops with integrity.

Stay Alert for Intimidation

When mechanic shopping, beware of the old, "I wouldn’t drive this thing for another mile" line. This is a scare tactic, and unfortunately, it works quite often. If you begin to feel intimidated and the mechanic pressures you to repair the vehicle as quickly as possible, take caution from there on out. A great idea in this circumstance is to get a second opinion from another shop without telling them what the “problem” is. This way you don’t lead the new shop’s expectations and simply see what they say. If they offer the same information, then you know it’s most likely a legitimate problem.

Ask for the Old, Broken Parts Back

This could be one of the most clever tricks in the book to avoid getting scammed by an auto mechanic. Before any repairs are made on the vehicle, tell the mechanic that you’d like the old parts back once the repairs have been made. Any honest mechanic will not see a problem with this, as he will have no use for them. Beware of mechanics that get defensive or express a significant interest in knowing why you’re interested in the old parts. They may be trying to hide the evidence.

Overall, use common sense when shopping around for a reliable mechanic. If it seems too expensive, it probably is. Get everything in writing and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Third parties are great for information, and seek out a second opinion if you don’t trust your initial quote.

Carsurfer Admin

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