According to a 2017 study conducted by AAA, drivers pay between $500 and $600 on average to make auto repairs. And unfortunately, about one-third of them are forced to do it by going into debt.
If you ever find yourself in this scenario, you should know that you don’t have to pay exactly what an auto repair shop wants you to pay for repairs. You can negotiate auto repair estimates down to get a better deal if you’re able to communicate with a mechanic effectively.
It’s not always easy to get a mechanic to come down on the price of an auto repair. But there are some ways to get them to reconsider how much they’re going to charge you to fix your vehicle.
Take a look at some tips that will show you how to negotiate auto repair estimates with mechanics below.
Start by Seeing If the Quote Given to You by the Mechanic Is Reasonable
There are a lot of people who don’t trust auto mechanics for whatever reason. These people are always under the impression that a mechanic is trying to get the best of them.
Before you fly off the handle and accuse a mechanic of giving you a quote that’s entirely too high, do some research into the specific repair that you need to have done. In many cases, you might find that the quote is more than reasonable when you consider the repair work.
It doesn’t matter if you need to have dent removal done or your entire engine rebuilt. You should always research auto repair estimates before complaining about them to see whether the quote seems high or not.
If the Quote Doesn’t Seem Fair, Ask the Mechanic Why It’s So High
If you do your homework and find that a mechanic has given you a quote that’s high compared to the work that needs to be done, be upfront with them about it.
Without being accusatory, tell the mechanic you were a little surprised to see such a high quote come back. Politely ask if they would mind telling you why the quote is as high as it is.
As long as you’re friendly about it, many mechanics don’t have any problem walking you through a quote and explaining the thought behind it. They might even be willing to take you out to your car to show you exactly what needs to be done to it.
The mechanic might also tell you about a few options you have as far as cutting costs. It’s why it never hurts to ask for a further explanation when it comes to auto repair estimates.
Ask the Mechanic If You Can Hold Off on Some of the Recommended Repairs
Often times, mechanics will include a long list of recommended repairs when giving a customer auto repair estimates. Some of these repairs might not need to be done right away.
Find out if there are any auto repairs you can hold off on for a month or two after you receive your quote. You can save quite a bit of money in most cases by only making the repairs that 100 percent need to be done at the moment.
See If the Mechanic Would Be Willing to Allow You to Source Parts on Your Own
Did you know that you don’t have to rely on your mechanic to provide you with parts for auto repairs? You’re more than welcome to go out and find parts on your own if you want.
In many cases, you can save money by going this route. You can take your time and find parts at the right price before buying them and giving them to your mechanic.
There are a few potential pitfalls that could come along with taking this approach. For example, your parts probably won’t come equipped with a warranty if you buy them elsewhere and have your mechanic install them. Some mechanics might also refuse to install parts that they didn’t pick out themselves since they could be held responsible if the parts fail later.
But generally speaking, buying your own parts is an option that most people don’t even consider.
Double Check the Rate That Was Given to You for Labor Costs
A big chunk of auto repair estimates is usually devoted to labor costs. If your repair is going to take several hours to complete, the labor costs could be hundreds of dollars.
But if the labor costs on your estimate sound high to you, see if the mechanic can explain them. Mistakes do happen, and every now and then, labor costs will be higher than they should be on a quote due to a miscalculation.
There’s also a chance you could be misunderstanding how much work goes into a specific repair. Asking about the labor costs could clear up any confusion.
Speak With a Mechanic’s Manager About the Quote You Received
If, at the end of the day, you’re not able to negotiate auto repair estimates with a mechanic, you have one last resort. You can attempt to speak with the mechanic’s manager about your estimate.
Now, it’s worth noting that most managers will have their mechanics’ backs. They’ll usually stand behind the original estimate that was given to you.
But there could be a discount available on your auto repair job that the mechanic wasn’t aware of. The manager might also recognize that you’re a loyal customer of the auto repair shop and offer to bring your estimate down because of it.
It’s a good idea to check with the manager to see if there’s anything that can be done to bring your estimate down.
Always Attempt to Negotiate Auto Repair Estimates
No one enjoys dealing with the headaches that accompany auto repair estimates. They’re enough to make you want to swear off cars forever.
But if you’re willing to get a little creative, you can successfully negotiate with a mechanic over an estimate. And you’ll feel better about the entire repair process when you do.
Check out our blog to discover more about auto repairs.