Do you ever feel like the auto repair shop is out to get you?

United States
January 3, 2007 7:15pm CST
I just went to the shop to get my timing chain fixed. Granted, I knew it was going to cost a lot because it was already broken, but when I took it in, they told me it would cost $800 to fix it. After having it for3 days, they called back and said that my head gasket is broken too and now it is going to cost $4,000 dollars. I was in shock and really mad. I was able to talk them down to $3,500, but still, I couldn't believe it. I felt trapped because they had my car apart and would not give it back unless I paid. I did pay and it is working again, but I wish I could find a place that was honest and not out to get my money. Does anbody have any suggestions? And have any of you had the same problem?
7 people like this
44 responses
@sharon613 (2324)
• United States
4 Jan 07
my car - my car on the hwy
I suggest you go to a well known place such as Firestone, they seem to be pretty honest.
2 people like this
@dramaqn (1990)
• United States
3 Mar 08
I usually go to the dealership for my detailed FREE estimate, and then take it to my mechanic to be fixed, that way I already know what's wrong and I can save money.
• United States
4 Jan 07
I feel this way every time I have to take my car in. I know that I have one strike against me because I am a woman, the second strike is I just don't know anything about cars. The last time I had mine fixed, I took it in because it kept overheating. They sat on it for a week while I was driving one of their rental cars. I called everyday finally they say it is done. I pay for it return rental car and go out to start my Jeep. Will not start, now they say it is something else. This is fixed by the next day. I pick up my Jeep again and go home. On the way home it overheats, I call them they say bring it back. Another rental car, another three weeks. Finally I pick it up, running ok, so I go out of town. Guess what on the way home it breaks down. Was I taken advantage of. Oh yes, the whole time paying for rental car, paying their bill everytime it is fixed. I dread going it is worse than my own physician.
• United States
4 Jan 07
That is how I feel too. At least I have a husband who knows about cars a little bit, but when they start taking it apart, God only knows how they are going to put it back together. I dread it every time. Thanks for responding.
@nnsb75 (632)
• United States
4 Jan 07
if you bought your car on the big dealer it would be better off to take it to them and they're not gonna screw you, thats what my husband do now whenever he need to service the car coz you get the quality service rather than going to those small shop they really gonna get you screwed.
2 people like this
@dramaqn (1990)
• United States
3 Mar 08
Even if you don't buy your car from a major dealer (Ford,Chevy,etc) they will do what's right for your vehicle because it is their name brand, and is their job to make sure that vehicles with their brand name run appropriately.
@Jlowe110 (313)
• United States
4 Jan 07
Yeah that happens a lot. Sometimes, they say somethings broken, you pay for it, but they do nothing, because its not broken. If you have a friend or a relative that knows a little bit about cars, ahve them look at your car, and make sure they know everything thats wrong, and if they say somethign else is broken then refuse to pay for it, and say you want to drive with a broken one. ALso, sometimes they will accidentally break something in the car, and charge you to fix it, even though you might have gotten it replaced last week. Its how auto mechanic shops get their money. They also do the same thing with paint jobs, charge cheapbut it comes off within a year.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Jan 07
My husband does, thank God. But they still seem to get you everytime.
• Malaysia
4 Jan 07
I never faced that type of situation but I know that kind of problem would happen if we are not around at the workshop if we send our car for repair. If we stick close around and look at what they are doing, they won't put up monkey idea in their head. If I send my car, I always stick around, and tell the workshop not to change anything if I'm not around.
@kgwat70 (13398)
• United States
4 Jan 07
I feel that the dealerships are out to get their car owners more than the auto repair shops. The dealers charge a lot more to fix your car than some smaller repair shops. I think the dealerships will find things wrong with your car that are not problems at all but they are trying to make extra money off of us. I would stay away from dealerships to fix my car and would go to s repair shop. You can always get a second opinion if you feel like they are ripping you off.
• United States
4 Jan 07
I do too. When I took my car to the dealership to get something fixed that was recalled, they came saying I need to get this looked at and that fixed. I ended up calling my husband to ask him like every 10 minutes to see if we really needed it fixed. He told me "just say no". It was hard though. They are a lot more expensive too. Thanks for responding.
@wildguy2 (1349)
• Canada
4 Jan 07
A little piece of advice for those who need auto repairs, if you go to an auto mechanic shop and they tell you that you need this part and that part, get a list of the parts, take the list to a parts store like UAP NAPA, or whoever is in your area, and buy the parts yourself, have the shop install them. Auto shops make there parts up over 300% and I am not joking, I used to work for a popular mechanic shop and our mark up was 500%, example...a muffler would cost a customer $69.99, our cost was $9.99, The clamps to install the muffler, our cost 10 cents each, customer cost $5.99 each, shop supplies like using the torches, the customer paid $15.00 our cost 55 cents and 1 hour labour $65.00 total to customer $161.97 plus tax, our cost $25.74 ....hows that for a markup, I would list the Company but I would be afraid to...there labour was $65.00 an hour...I didn't stay with this company long after I found out just how bad they were ripping off people in costs. I soon after went out on my own and done repairs for some of my customers and they were really pleased that I was so upfront with them, If I thought the repar was more than they were ready to budget I would give them the alternatives, and they really appreciated it.
2 people like this
@dramaqn (1990)
• United States
3 Mar 08
OH yeah definitely, if the place will let you bring your own parts, definitely do that. You can save all kinds of money that's for sure. My mechanic will even order the parts for me while I'm there or give me a list as long as I pick them up.
@katprice (807)
• United States
4 Jan 07
Yes, this is why I buy cars from auction for real cheap and then when they break down I just go and buy a new one. It works out just great. I have taken new cars that I have bought in for repair and one fraudulent garage told me I needed new shocks. That was absurd because the car only had 13,000 miles on it. I don't know where these shops get off thinking that they can price gouge us into submission. News shows on TV have gone undercover and exposed a lot of wrongdoing. Those programs need to be aired more often so people will pay more attention than money when they bring their car in for service.
@wildguy2 (1349)
• Canada
4 Jan 07
Do you not realize that 99% of the cars sold at auctions do not have the original miles on the odometer, the companies roll back the mileage drastically, I have seen cars come to me from auctions saying they only had low mileage and when I put it on the computer that tells me exactly ho much mileage it has, you would be blown away to know the real truth. Next time you buy a car at auction, if it is new enough, take it to a shop and have them put it on the computer and read the real miles. The car you were saying that had only 13,000 miles but needed shocks most likely had the miles rolled back and may very well have needed shocks. Be carefull of this mile roll back scheme, dealerships do it as well, when they receive a car on trade and if it has high miles they roll them back..I had 3 cars from a dealership come to me that a customer was going to buy, he wanted me to check it over before he bought the car, and all 3 had the miles turned back. Another thing to check for that you will never be told by an auction or dealership is a accident report, or water report, also a lemon report, these can be found at the vehicle registration centre, this will list all if any accidents the vehicle has been in...dealerships and auctions do not have to realease this information to a potential buyer, unless requested...there are a lot of cars out there that people drive everyday that have been in a fairly damaging accident, but the dealership or auction has made drivable again, these vehicles are not road worthy, most wear out quickly. I have also had my share of these vehicles as well, I had one brought to me to have a wheel allignment and I couldn't allign it, as it was litterally twisted, you couldn't see how bad it was until it was put on the alignment machine...the poor owner bought this as is where is, and couldn't keep tires and ball joints in the car...just a little something to be carefull of.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jan 07
Just how many miles do you think your car can go without needing shocks? If you buy cars from auctions, you never know what condition the car is in. If it has ever been in an accident, it is possible the shocks are wearing more than normal. Even your tires can wear funky if the car was in an accident. People with the mentality of just getting in a car to drive it without having to do routine maintainence should never be allowed to drive.
2 people like this
@Metallion (2230)
• United States
4 Jan 07
If you had a blown head gasket your car would not have been running. They can not force you to accept a repair from them. If you are suspicious of them tell them "no thanks, my car was running when I gave it to you, I expect it back in running condition, fix the timing belt and I'll take it elsewhere for a second opinion". When you take it for a second opinion, and if they do say there is an issue with the head gasket, ask them if they feel the other repair shop could have done something to damage it. If so get a lawyer.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jan 07
A vehicle CAN run with a blown head gasket. Most people don't notice it until the engine starts to overheat, than it's usually to late and the majority of damage has been done. It is not uncommon for the head gasket to be blown when the timing chain or belt goes.
2 people like this
@cowlady (270)
• United States
4 Jan 07
I feel they really are out to get women
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jan 07
They usually are. You must protect yourself.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 07
My husband worked at an auto shop. The labor is what kills you, they take advantage of you with it*and the environmental charge is bullcrap too! My husband still has all the knowledge and skills from being in the trade, so when my brakes go out or my timing belt is done he will buy the part and do it at home. It saves us thousands literally. Do not take your car to a dealership to get fixed unless it is under warranty - dealerships charge the highest labor rates. Do not go to a real small ma and pap shop. They can charge barley anything but don't know what they are doing or do a half butt job. Take it to a care center, get prices and shop around. Always negioate the price. Be like "Oh I really like going to you guys however this company*just throw a name out* is offerring the service for a cheaper price" give an amount YOU want to pay and see if they take it, if not call around. Good Luck!
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jan 07
The labor is not what kills you, it's the parts. The average mark up on parts is anywhere from 40-60 percent. The labor is most always calculated by a standard of time that everyone follows. If the book says something will take 1 and 1/2 hours to repair, guarantee you will be charged for 2 hours.
1 person likes this
@clark16 (376)
• Philippines
4 Jan 07
They should check up first your car before repairing it so that you know what's the real damage on your car. I think this would help. If they don't do it for you, it means that they're not that expert abouit it.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jan 07
That's why you have to have them look at your car or truck and give you a WRITTEN estimate. You don't just take your car and want it fixed without knowing what they have to do. People have to protect themselves. It's like getting a second or even third opinion.
1 person likes this
• India
4 Jan 07
Yeah ur right even i have been to these auto repair shops many times.Ironically when i go to get my headlights fixed they lemme know somethings wrong with my battery,these guys have a habit of making a mountain out of a mole.They'll point out 3 more things that are wrong with my car and an additional 5 things that could go wrong...and a few days after repairing the problems just come back to haunt me
• United States
5 Jan 07
Any good mechanic will RECOMMEND repairs if they see something that isn't up to specifications. They are supposed to do that. That way they are not liable. Not all mechanics are out to get everybody.
1 person likes this
@classy56 (2884)
• United States
4 Jan 07
if you take your car to a pro shop they will get you every time.i just replace a head gasket on 1 of my cars it cost me $600 but a pro shop want $1500.if you can, find you a back yard mechanic. so you wont get rip off
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 07
A backyard mechanic could be worse than going to a shop. You never know if they know what they are talking about or not. I recommend asking around for a good mechanic.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 07
I just purchased a used car. I took it to the shop to get a tune up because I was traveling from Texas to Ohio. I had my 6 month daughter with me. When I got to Kansas my altenator fell out on the highway. Luckily it was daytime and a group of female passengers offered me a ride to the auto shop. I had to stay in a hotel because they could not get the part till the next day. That was my first car and my first trip to anywhere by car. It was a little overwhelming. I do not know what I could have done to prevent this but I should have reported it later on. I will if it ever happens again.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 07
You should still report it. Don't wait for something to happen again. I would contact the auto dealership and tell them what happened.
@shywolf (4523)
• United States
4 Jan 07
That is really awful!! I can't believe that you took your car in for an $800 repair and now owe $3.500 and that they tried to charge you four thousand dollars! Auto repair shops can be awfully shady. I've heard stories about how they tell you that you need repairs that you don't even need, and then do _nothing_. I saw a news story once where a news crew filmed several Jiffy Lube stores where the customers were told that things were going to be done to fix on their car that weren't done at all, yet the people were charged for things that never took place! My gosh. What is this world coming to? I hope that you are able to find a really honest local car shop near you. I don't know that i would want to go back to the place that you just used, if I were you! Wow.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 07
Me too! Somewhere there has got be an honest mechanic. I used to have one back in college, but he moved away. I really do miss him.
• Philippines
4 Jan 07
Lets get things in their right perspective. First of all we wouldnt bring the car to a repair shop if we didnt know the owner right? So assuming the shop is a trusted one there are 2 things that can happen. Its obvious that there is something broken that needs to be fixed so the mechanics tries to fix the problem. More often than not when the mechanic tries to fix this problem the particular part being fixed is attached or related to another nearby part that if removed or touched something unwanted may happen (which often happens). That is why the repair of the problem costs more. Secondly is that even if we know the owner of the shop we dont really know his personnel right? Also our car isnt unique and there may be other car identical to yours in the shop as well right? Now heres the problem - some parts on your car MAY be SWAPPED with an inferior one on the identical car just to have the identical car's problem fixed so it can leave the shop. I'm not kidding! This often happens. So my dad taught me this. Never leave your car overnight in the shop. If repair, etc. would take longer than a day you may want to hire a mechanic to do the job right in your home where you can look over the job. (I guess this was my longest post ever at Mylot!)
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 07
Wow! Thanks for making such a long response. I can't believe that they would actually do that to innocent people. Unbeliveable! Thanks for responding.
@BDnLacy (324)
• United States
4 Jan 07
I know how you feel. I had to put a fuel pump in my 96 jimmy and the shop hit me for 1200.00 in labor. And it only took him like 3 hrs. When I asked why he charged so much, he only said "because I can"
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 07
That is so mean and rude. And he is right, because he can. Awful!
• United States
20 Jan 07
Yes, I think it's insane. Lucky for me, my husband has been able to take care of the cars for us. He loves it. One time, he was so frustrating with trying to figure out a wiring problem he had, so he decided to take it to a local mechanic. They wanted to charge him $500, well, he towed it back home and started replacing every single wire until he found the bad one.
@pendragon (3354)
• United States
5 Jan 07
There is one repair shop here, that I believe they sabotage something else in your car while fixing a first problem so that you need to go back within a couple days. They get away with a few times with everyone, I'm sure. They know they're needed, sometimes that makes for greed.
1 person likes this
@kidsrock (64)
• United States
4 Jan 07
Oh I feel your pain here. My husband took his car to the shop spent $750 (which we didn't have rally). Picked the car up, the very next day it broke down on his way somewhere. It was a totally different issue cost us another $950. Fortunately they are taking payments of $300 but OMG right after Christmas it's killing us. My only suggestions are to get referals before you go to a mechanic and also weigh the cost of repairs versus the cost of a new car.
1 person likes this