Protect Yourself From Auto Repair Rip-Offs

Dealing with occasional auto repairs is an unavoidable fact of life that can leave you feeling vulnerable.

The good news is that the vast majority of repair shops will give you good, honest service at a fair and competitive price. However, as with any service, if you're not careful, auto repair work can leave you feeling ripped off. 

Auto repair rip-offs consistently rank among the top consumer complaints. Here are a series of tips to help you avoid becoming a victim:

Find an auto repair shop before you need one. This will avoid the pressure of having to make a last-minute choice. Ask friends or family members to recommend repair shops they trust.

Find out up-front whether the repair shop will honor any existing warranty on your car. If you don't check, you could end up paying for parts or labor covered by your manufacturer's warranty.
Make sure that the shop is qualified to complete the necessary repair. Ask if the shop has experience working on the same type of vehicle as yours and has done this type of repair before.
If the repair exceeds $50, the shop is required to give you a written estimate. Make sure the estimate specifically identifies the condition to be repaired, the parts needed and the anticipated labor charge. Then, feel free to compare estimates and shop around for the best deal.
Be aware that the shop is required to contact you before exceeding the written estimate.
After the work is completed, the repair shop must provide a legible copy of the repair invoice showing the work that was done and an itemization of parts and labor charges. Review this document carefully and ask questions if there's anything that you don't understand.