must know tips to avoid auto repair scams


It was recently discovered that auto repair complaints are the majority of consumer grievances. Many of the complaints reported alleged car repair scams. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, consumers lose “tens of billions of dollars each year due to faulty or unnecessary car repairs.” This is because many dealerships usually consider their profits before good honest customer service as well as hiring unqualified technicians.

To prove this, you can visit several dealerships with the same car problem and you will often get different answers and price quotes recommending unnecessary services or repairs. Simply ask the dealership a question regarding routine maintenance and what is recommended at each service. If you check your vehicle owner’s manual, you will see what is recommended for normal driving habits. Some manuals may offer recommendations for harsh driving conditions as well.

Irrespective of your area’s weather conditions, some service advisors may try to convince you to purchase services and/or repairs applicable for harsh weather conditions beit heat, humidity or cold and snow.  Most of these service writers are trained and encouraged to maximize profit for each service. If you live in Alaska or in Texas for example, your maintenance routine will involve more protective and preventative measures than most vehicle owners.  For most of us, harsh weather conditions may only occur a few months out ot the year. Your vehicle manual was produced only after the manufacturer spent millions of dollars on design, research and testing, which is why it is one of the best sources to refer to about what your vehicle needs.

In that same survey conductd by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, several dealerships across the country were asked to recommend what the best mileage intervals between oil changes for different makes and models were.  The recommendations ranged anywhere from 3,000 – 3,500 miles for various car makes and models. However, the owner’s manual for these vehicles recommend 4,000 – 5,000 for normal driving habits and climatic conditions.

Different dealerships were also contacted to ask about what the correct mileage to change a timing belt is. The answers given varied from 60,000 to 70,000 miles, while the owner’s manual recommends a mileage range of 90,000 – 100,000 to replace the timing belt. These findings demonstrate how many, not all, dealerships may be pushing more expensive and unnecessary services, leaving many consumers feeling scammed and ripped off.

Here are some tips to help you find the right car mechanic or automotive service for your vehicle:

  • As stated previously, check your vehicles owner manual first!  You may discover that a visit to the dealership or mechanic is un-necessary for some minor maintenance or repairs.

  • Make sure you check to see if your vehicle warranty covers the part and/or repair service being recommended and if it is necessary to have it done.  Dealerships can still be a good place to have warranty work done. Many ASE Certified mechanics and repair shops such as Arrow Automotive Service, can also do vehicle warranty repairs.

  • Most independently owned auto repair shops can do oil changes and most car repairs for half the cost of a dealership. The quality of the parts and services provided are just as good as a dealership.

  • Be sure that the mechanic or service writer is truly listening and engaged about your service needs.

  • Shop around for different quotes.  Getting at least three quotes can ensure that you pay a fair price.  Sometimes the best price doesn’t always mean the best service!

  • If it is essential for you to use a dealership for maintenance or repair, ensure you call around. Don’t take their word hook, line and sinker. Before visiting a dealership or any mechanic, make sure you check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or even Google reviews to see what customers have experienced at that dealership or repair shop.

  • If you believe that you have been a victim of automotive repair fraud, please contact the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for Auto Repair Fraud or the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Finding an honest and reliable auto repair shop or dealership can be difficult, but is by no means impossible. Here at Arrow Automotive Service, building trust and long term relationships with our customers is always our first priority.  That is why we believe we are the right relationship for you and your vehicle. We would love to hear from you with any questions or service needs you may have for your vehicle.  

Call to schedule an appointment: (626)334-7801 or email us

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