How often have you had a bad experience with a car mechanic? We get taken advantage of, especially females. Now, I am not saying all mechanics are like this. In fact, you should read my article on how to find a good mechanic because once you’ve found someone you can trust, never go to anyone else!
Isn’t there a way we can know ahead of time what a bad mechanic will try to sell me? With some research, you can! Lucky for you, we did all the hard work in this article; all you have to do is read & remember.
There are some things mechanics will say that just aren’t true, but they say them because they want more business. You need a new battery (even though yours is only two years old). You need wiper blades (even though yours are totally fine). You need a new transmission (even though… wait did you even look over my tires which was why I brought the car in?!).
I think you get the picture so let’s get to it!
What A (Bad) Mechanic Will Want You To Change
Now, before I get into the list of things a bad mechanic will tell you needs to be changed, I wanted to remind you that not all mechanics are like this. In fact, I work at a classic car restoration shop and we have killer mechanics here that will tell you what your car needs & nothing else. These guys wouldn’t B.S. you, so find your mechanic squad and stick with them 🙂
Watch Out For These Tricks
We all know car companies don’t stay in business by just doing oil changes. They need to ‘find’ something else in order to make a profit. Which is why they’ll call within 5 minutes saying they’ve found something wrong with your transmission fluid & think you need it changed. Flushing the transmission fluid is a lot more work than just changing your oil. $$$ in their pocket! These are the type of conversations you need to watch out for.
The next time you take your car in, make sure your mechanic is fixing the issue, not causing more. Because in reality, if you keep your car maintained well & it doesn’t have well over 100,000 miles, you shouldn’t need a lot of work.
Here are some common schemes a mechanic will try to pull:
- Fluff Work: As I mentioned above, mechanics don’t make money off of just changing oil so they have to get creative and “find” another problem. This is why you’ll get a call about an alignment, or your tires going bad or replacing your wiper blades. All fluff work. If every customer walked in for just an oil change & paid for just that, no shop would be in business.
- You Need A New Battery (But Only The One We Have): Newer car batteries last about 5 years. Whenever you buy a battery, write the year down so you remember when you put it in. Shops will always try to sell you a battery because of their up-charge on the battery itself. Normally, you can find one for under $200.00, but buying it through a shop you’ll spend closer to $400! If you do need a battery, buy one yourself (from places like Amazon) & install it by watching this video.
- Your Car Needs An Alignment: Does it really though? By now, you should know how to tell if your car needs an alignment. Does it shake, rattle, & roll on the highway? Can you see one tire whacked out compared to the others? No thanks, I’ll pass on the alignment.
- You Need New Tires: Well then, what’s my tread? Hmmm. Ok, how much longer can I drive on these tires before they blow? That’s what I thought. If you ever hear someone tell you, you need new tires, check your tread first! We’ve posted an article on this and it is so easy to check. You do NOT need new tires unless you have such uneven wear the rubber is running down to the wire in some cases, or your tread is so bad you are having a difficult time driving in rough conditions. New tires will last a VERY long time. So, if someone tells you, you need new tires, check them out first or ask questions that will put them on the spot!
- You Need A Fluid Flush: We’ve talked about your car fluids a lot so by now you should know how often you should be changing your fluids. Not all of them are every 5,000 miles like your oil. In fact, some don’t even need changing for 50,000+! A bad mechanic will jump to this conclusion to make money. Besides your oil, most other fluids are either hard to get to, or hard to flush. More labor time = more money in their pockets.
- Your Bill Is More Then I Quoted: Working in the car industry, I know it’s hard to give a quote. However, an oil change is standard. Tire rotation or alignment is standard. All the basic repairs your car would need should have a standard fee and they definitely shouldn’t run over that.
- I Noticed Your Wiper Blades Are Bad So I Replaced Them: Your mechanic should never replace something without consulting you first. If you only go in for an oil change, and they actually don’t find anything wrong with your car (surprise, surprise) I bet the next thing they’ll jump to are your wiper blades. They can markup the price to whatever they desire and take their time changing them. Wiper blades are so easy to change, you should be able to replace them yourself. We even did a video recently involving this, so head over to this link & go watch!
- Your Car Is So Unsafe, I Wouldn’t Drive It: But, would it pass inspection? Because if it’s so unsafe to drive yet it still passes inspection…. something doesn’t add up. For the most part, unless your car is overheating all the time, you have a huge crack in your windshield, your brakes/tires are completely worn, or your check engine light is on, your car will pass inspection. If it passes inspection then, on average, it is safe to drive. They just want to scare you into replacing something ridiculously expensive.
- We Ran Into Issues Changing Your Oil: Unless you went to a really shady mechanic shop or have an extremely old/rusted car, there is no reason any true mechanic should run into problems changing your oil. All excuses.
- We Can’t Give You The Original Parts Back: I actually ran into this problem at a dealership (you can read more about that experience here). The first time they “fixed” my car, I forgot to ask for my original parts when I should have. It turns out they never did anything just said they did. You always have the right to your original parts, as long as they aren’t hazardous like fluids.
So, how many times have you heard the same scenarios as above? Did you fall for their tricks or started asking questions? For the most part, if you know what you’re talking about and start asking the right questions, a bad mechanic will back down. They realized they can’t fool you and you will actually walk away with just paying for an oil change!