Finding a trustworthy car mechanic can be stressful. Unless you’re a total gear-head, it’s hard to know if someone is trying to mess with you, up-sell you or just rip you off.
But one thing you can do is your research. Here are four red flags that your mechanic might not be as honest as you’d like.
1. “If ______ doesn’t fix the issue, we’ll try ______.”
If your mechanic tells you this, you could be dealing with a “parts replacer.” This is a mechanic who isn’t really sure what’s wrong with your car, but is just going to try every possible option until he or she hits on something that works.
If this happens to you, ask the mechanic to justify the initial repair, according to Chuck Roberts, executive director for industry relations at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, who shared his expertise with Consumer Reports.
Mechanics are only human. But even if they’ve just made an honest mistake, they should refund the first repair or discount the second one. If it happens again, it’s the mechanic that’s the issue—not your car.
2. “Those wiper blades will be $32 each.”
If you know for a fact that part of your car is broken, research how much that part costs. Obviously, there’s going to be a markup on parts when you buy them (plus labor) at a mechanic.
This is just simple business: the parts get bought wholesale, are marked up to turn a profit and then sold to the consumer as part of the actual repair. But how much are those actual parts supposed to cost?
It’s not hard to do a little digging and find out that wiper blades should really only be $8 a pop. If you get a quote from Mechanic A that a replacement for something you know is $100 will cost you $300 total, it’s time to look for Mechanic B.