The automotive industry is a dishonest industry, with dishonesty occurring all the way from the dealership to the mechanic. Almost everyone involved in the industry wants to take as much of your money as they legally (and sometimes illegally) can. This includes the mechanic that has been doing your repairs for the past 7 years. He puts on a good show, but then again, so do telemarketers and infomercials. Most vehicle owners don’t know very much about their vehicle. They put fuel in it when it needs it, and take it to a mechanic when they think it needs repairs. They have no idea how much time it takes to replace their air filter, change their starter, etc. And this is why people tend to get massively overcharged for auto repair. Auto parts are another area where people get overcharged, usually by 50-70%. Through the course of this article, I will show you how you can save significant amounts of money the next time your car needs repairs.

Auto Parts

Garages and auto parts stores know the people don’t understand the mechanical workings their own cars, and they take advantage of this fact. Auto parts stores generally put a huge markup on their parts for the customer “off the street”. Garages don’t pay this price though. They usually get a 35-50% discount off the retail price. So if a part was going to cost you $100, the garage would likely get it for around $65. If the garage were reasonable, it would just add 20% onto the part and sell it to you for $78. But instead of being reasonable, garages will often add 100% onto the part and sell it to you for $130. It doesn’t really seem fair, does it? In addition to all this, it’s common practice for mechanics to install parts that you don’t need and then charge you for them.
One way to save on auto parts is by calling around to local auto parts stores to check prices. Be careful about checking prices on the internet though, as internet pricing tends to be much lower than what you can find at your local store. Another thing you can try is telling the auto parts store that you want the “garage price”. This will often allow you to get the parts at the same price that the garage does. I know it seems simple, but it works. Just be sure that you have a name made up for your fictional garage for when they ask you.

Labor Times

Not only do garages want to make huge profits on auto parts, they also want to make huge profits on their labor as well. You might ask, “How can they make any extra on labor when they can only charge for the amount of time they spend on my vehicle?” Well, back to what we learned in the first paragraph, garages are dishonest. They will charge you for more time than they actually spend on your vehicle. They will charge you for the time your mechanic spends on a coffee break. Sometimes they will even charge you for repairs that were never even done. Around the auto repair industry there is a magic number of 700, which means that a garage will try to come up with enough repairs to bring your bill up to $700. However, most of the time, a vehicle only needs $200 or less on repairs, including the parts.

Saving money on labor times is a bit more difficult than saving money on parts. You could try calling around to different garages and getting an idea for how much the repair should cost. You could also get an exact quote from a garage and make them promise to honor it after the repairs are completed. The best method for keeping your repair bills low is to use a labor guide. A labor guide tells you how much time is required for a certain repair on your vehicle. It allows you to know what your bill should be, before you get the bill. Most labor guides are sold in massive sets that include all vehicles. But I’ve managed to find a place that offers labor guides for individual vehicles, making them cheaper than the usual labor guides that include all vehicles. By utilizing a vehicle specific labor guide, you will be able to be sure that the mechanic is not scamming you on your car repairs.