Horses and auto repair?
Has your horse broken down, and you’re not sure how to fix it? (animal welfare disclaimer…Buddy was just relaxing here)
Lately I’ve been following some threads on reddit about adulting, just to see what questions are coming up. Although I tend to spend more time on overall human advice and not as much on how-to advice (there’s a great book Life After College that covers much of this), this is one that is important for young women to think through as they navigate adulthood. The question was, “How do I know if my auto mechanic is being honest, or are they taking advantage of me because I’m a woman?”
Way back when
Back when horses were our transportation, I wonder if women questioned whether their vet was scamming them or not. Oh wait, women didn’t have any autonomy back then, so they just had to sit there and let their man take care of that! Easier? Yes. Potentially stifling? Yes.
These days if you are a car owner, you likely rely on your mechanic to keep your vehicle in good working condition. I suspect you’ve heard stories about dishonest mechanics who take advantage of women, and their perceived lack of knowledge, to overcharge. There is no quick fix besides learning more about car maintenance or having someone in your life who is a pro, but here are ten things to watch out for so you have more confidence walking into the mechanic shop.
10 things to watch out for at the auto mechanic’s shop
Unnecessary repairs: If your mechanic recommends repairs that you didn’t ask for, it could be a sign that they are trying to scam you. On the flip side, this can also be a sign of a mechanic who is looking out for your best interest, so a second opinion is helpful if you are unsure.
Overpriced parts: Dishonest mechanics may inflate the cost of parts to increase their profit margins. Be sure to research the price of the parts yourself and compare it to what your mechanic is quoting.
Pushy behavior: If your mechanic is pushy or using scare tactics in their recommendations, it could be a red flag. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you feel uncomfortable.
Lack of explanation: A good mechanic will explain the problem and the repair process to you in detail. If your mechanic is evasive or doesn’t explain things clearly, it could be a sign that they are hiding something. Ask questions about the repairs if you don’t understand and expect them to take the time to educate you about the work they are proposing.
High labor costs: Labor costs can vary greatly between mechanics, so be sure to compare prices before committing to any repairs. If your mechanic’s labor costs seem unreasonably high, it could be a sign of a scam.
No written estimate: Always ask for a written estimate before any repairs are made. This will protect you from unexpected costs and give you a clear idea of what the repairs will entail.
Fake parts: Dishonest mechanics may use fake or counterfeit parts to save money. These parts may not function properly and could even cause further damage to your vehicle. Ask for original parts (OEM) and check that they have the manufacturer’s logo and part number stamped on them.
Unnecessary services: Some mechanics may recommend additional services that are not necessary, such as engine flushes or fuel system cleanings. Be sure to research the necessity of these services before agreeing to them. The frequency and types of services recommended should be listed in your owner’s manual.
Refusal to show old parts: A good mechanic will show you any old parts that were replaced during the repair process. If your mechanic refuses to show you these parts, it could be a sign that they didn’t actually replace them.
Bad reviews: Always research the reputation of any mechanic before taking your car to them. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends and family.
It doesn’t feel good to question whether you can trust your mechanic, so doing the upfront work will allow you to know that you have someone who is on your side. Then you can get back in the saddle riding high.