Brake repair and maintenance are some of the most popular services offered by mechanics, which means there is the potential for unsuspecting drivers to be ripped off. Not all mechanics are out to get their customers, but there are enough con artists playing the game that make it vital for car owners to protect themselves and their wallets. The good news is that with a little bit of knowledge, most scams are easily avoided with only a moderate effort. Here are some examples of typical brake repair scams perpetuated by shady auto technicians.
This scam is not limited only to brake repair jobs. Dishonest mechanics are notorious for giving reasonable estimates, only to jack up the prices over the course of a few days. They just seem to keep finding expensive problems that supposedly pose great risks to the driver and car. While an estimate is only a guideline and unexpected costs can arise, anything that greatly inflates the price should be treated with great scrutiny. Asking direct questions can sometimes help reveal the truth, and take advantage of information you can find off the Internet as a reference for prices. Never agree to any work until you are satisfied that the estimate is accurate. Your best bet however is to get a second opinion when possible.
You take your car in because you hear a squeaking. The mechanic works his magic, but a few days later the squeaking returns. What happened? Auto mechanics are like doctors, and sometimes the most difficult part of the job is identifying the specific problem in the first place. Accurate diagnostics are important for safety, customer finances, and time. Even the best mechanics can make mistakes though, which is why you should seek a shop that has guarantees and stands behind its work. If they do, they will often fix the problem at low cost, sometimes charging you only for parts.
Clean or Replace?
When your brakes start grinding or squealing, you probably should have the pads replaced. This is a very routine service that doesn’t take very long, but for some reason there are a few lazy techs that like to cut corners. Your pads may get cleaned, but they won’t actually be fully replaced which is what is actually necessary. But how can you prove you were cheated? The squealing will return and you will soon notice the same sponginess when applying pressure on the pedal. Bring your car back and demand that they fix it, or learn a valuable lesson and seek a different shop next time.
Most people don’t drive unusual or rare automobiles, which means parts are easy to source for the most part. Mechanics don’t exactly have the time or patience to shop for the lowest prices on your behalf. For some reason, that also seems to equate to working with the only supplier who overprices nearly every part. This one isn’t so much a scam as it is an inconvenience for auto shops. The solution is simple – source your own parts.