For anyone that isn’t well versed it automobiles, it can be a bit unnerving when you bring your car in for either routine maintenance or to fix a potential issue. The fact is that you put a lot of trust in the mechanic. They know that you don’t know what’s under your hood. So they can either be truthful or unfortunately, they can take advantage of you. Hopefully you can get some referrals on trusty mechanics but in the event that you don’t, here are 5 common auto mechanic scams.
The Dirty Air Filter
Whether you’re in for an oil change or for a repair, you might have a mechanic come back out to you with your dirty air filter. Except, it’s not actually your air filter. Since you likely have never seen your air filter, you’ll have no idea that they are showing you a random one they have in back.
You can prevent this scam using two tips. The first is to take a look at the two filters your car has; the engine air filter and the cabin air filter. If you know what these look like, you can call out the mechanic when it doesn’t match. The other thing to do is know when it needs to get replace. Both filters last about 15,000 miles.
If you’ve been taking your car in for regular maintenance such as changing your engine’s oil, you shouldn’t need an engine flush. A flush is necessary if there is a sludge build-up in your engine, which typically doesn’t happen if you’ve been getting routine oil changes.
One common upsell scam that mechanics use is to suggest coolant replacement during a routine oil change. Unless you’re at or nearing the 100,000 mile mark on the odometer, you really don’t need to replace your coolant.
Purposefully Misleading or Damaging Vehicle
This might happen less at a mechanic and more often at a remote highway gas station that has a small maintenance shop. Owners have been known to spray oil or another liquid under your car and claim you have a leak. They might also puncture a tire or even cut important things like water hoses or fan belts, forcing you to buy one from them. If you’re planning on a long road trip, stop by your trusted mechnica prior to leaving so that you won’t even need a highway mechanic to look at your car.
Another common scam from auto mechanics is to provide a verbal estimate but then tack on to the final bill a bunch of issues they “discovered” while they had your car. A trusted mechanic will give you a signed, written estimate of work. If they find something wrong, they will call you and provide you with a new estimate that you have to approve before they start on the work. Don’t pay for any work a mechanic did without your knowledge or approval.
For more information about protecting the seats of your car, visit our website or call us at 888-246-5653.