How to save money on auto repair expenses
The single most important factor in saving money on your next repair bill is the hourly rate you are being charged. The "shop rate," as most will call it, is simply put as: the shops hourly rate for repair work. Most service centers will not announce the rate to you, but rather will give you the total cost for your necessary repairs. In my town alone the price from one service center to the next can vary as much as $50 per hour. That variance is enough to change the price of even the most basic of repairs. Heres a list of ways to make sure you get the most "bang for your buck" the next time you need auto repairs:
1.) Before taking your vehicle to the service center, call a hand full of service centers and ask what their hourly rate is.
They will tell you what their rate is when you ask them up front, and you can decide through a few phone calls which has the lowest hourly rate.
2.) Check with local parts stores to see who they recommend.
Remember that parts stores sell parts to all of the service centers you will be considering, and they generally can give you an un-biased opinion on who provides the best service rates, and they generally can attest to the reputability of the service centers available.
3.) Ask family, friends, and co-workers where they go for their service needs.
They may even know retired, or self-employed mechanics who can provide service center quality, at discounted prices.
4.) When a service center gives you an estimate, ask questions to verifiy that they are solving your problem.
All to often you can take your vehicle in for a fluid leak and have a service center bring you a "grocery list" of items that may or may not be related to the fluid leak you are concerned with. Ask your advisors to explain the cause and effect of each problem, and ask to have them show you the issue while the car is on the hoist. This way you can verify the concern for your self, and you can test the knowledge of your advisor. If they won't show you the concers they feel you should fix first hand, you should question their reputation, and check elsewhere.
5.) Check the price of the parts you advisor plans to install before you authorize the work to be done.
Although the hourly rate can affect you the greatest, obviously the service center marks up the price on their parts as well. They buy at a discounted price due to the volume of parts that they purchase. However, beware that they can also use that to their advantage. They might charge a low hourly rate, but if they are making 200% on their parts they are getting to your pocketbook anyway. When checking a parts prices on a service center beware that they will mark the parts up some, but if a part seems out of line, call around and check your local parts stores, and if the prices your service advisior is charging are out of line to you, ask them, kindly of course, about the variance. They may just drop the price if you ask nicely.
Truly, there are a lot of money saving techniques to automotive service but these 5 will get you started saving money on your auto repair expenses.
on Dec 11, 2009 | Ford Taurus Cars & Trucks