You’ve been hearing a funny noise in your automotive, so that you go to the repair shop.
But you’ve got a nagging feeling the estimate you’ve gotten is higher than it ought to be.
This week’s In Your Corner attempts to reply the query: “I believe my current auto repair shop is gouging me. How can I find one I can trust?”
George Iny, director of consumer advocacy group Automobile Protection Association, said there are a number of basic steps you’ll be able to take to scale back the possibility you’re getting ripped off.
The primary one is a bit counterintuitive: Ignore recommendations from your pals and family — unless they occur to be a automotive expert.
“A nonexpert who just uses a store for a routine service may need name for you,” said Iny, “but they’re just as more likely to be unreliable.”
Should you don’t have a automotive expert in your loved ones or circle of friends, you will discover what Iny calls a near-expert. Someone in a neighborhood automotive owners’ association, for instance.
By the numbers
Value of the auto repair industry in Canada in 2022.
Average per visit spend at dealerships in 2022.
Average per visit spend at aftermarket repair shops in 2022.
“There are clubs, people who find themselves automotive fans,” said Iny. “Sometimes they’re not reliable, but in the event that they have an unusual make vehicle, they could have already needed to have that have of finding the correct two or three shops on the town.”
Taxi or automotive service drivers can sometimes be helpful but they’re removed from a guarantee.
“They often want the most cost effective repair. You’d think someone of their cab all day long could be good, but they may need different objectives,” Iny said.
Some automotive owners are unknowingly giving repair shops the verbal equivalent of a blank cheque, he added.
“You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and tell them ‘give me anything in your menu,’ but people will go for a automotive repair and say ‘do a tune-up,’ which is essentially saying ‘give me anything in your menu,’ it’s whatever they wish to sell you.
“It could be helpful to make your way through the owners manual and see what’s required at a selected time and mileage.”
Getting a written estimate can also be a giant help, said Iny.
One surprising suggestion that’s a surefire money saver, in line with data from several studies, says Iny? Going into the repair shop later within the day, quite than very first thing within the morning.
“The chance of oversold parts goes down by about 9 per cent an hour,” said Iny. The explanation? People working the front desk at a repair shop typically have a sales quota to hit for the day, and there’s pressure to lock it in earlier within the day.
While it’s also idea to know your legal rights under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, Iny said that’s no guarantee you won’t get overcharged.
“There’s no real good system of correction or discipline for overtreatment,” said Iny. “The laws are good, but no one enforces it.”