Getting a fair estimate and a good price on automobile repairs

Whether you need to fix a transmission problem, replace your spark plugs or find out why your engine is making a funny noise, figuring out where to go for the best service at the best price isn’t always easy.

Not every driver is necessarily an expert in auto mechanics, so it can be extremely difficult to make an informed choice. Here, you’ll find some useful tips to help you get a fair estimate and a good price the next time you need automobile repairs.

Automobile repairs: to each garage its estimate

In their quest to find the best deal at the best price, many people are tempted to visit a single auto repair shop for an estimate and then contact a few others by telephone in order to compare prices.

However, this method isn’t exactly the most practical. What if the initial evaluation is imprecise? Then the second estimate will be off, as well. Furthermore, it isn’t very effective to try to get an estimate over the phone simply by describing the problem or letting the mechanic hear the sound the engine is making.

A reliable automobile repair shop needs to perform a full evaluation in order to offer you a correct diagnosis and an accurate price. If you really want to compare prices, we strongly recommend taking your vehicle to the garage so you can get a valid assessment.

How to find a good mechanic

Do you want to find a reliable garage but don’t know where to look? When you need guidance in making your choice, references are an ideal place to start. If you have a trusted friend or family member who can recommend a good garage, try it out and see for yourself. However, it’s vital for you to consider the nature of the problem before choosing a particular garage.

For example, it’s not advisable to go to a general mechanic for a transmission problem. A specialist will be better equipped to provide you with high-quality parts and service at a reasonable price. Just as there are garages that specialize in transmissions, there are also garages that specialize in problems with exhaust, tires, suspension, windshields, cooling systems and air conditioning.

A good strategy for finding that rare gem of a mechanic is to conduct a little test. Before you entrust a garage with major repairs on your vehicle, take it there for something minor, for example, an oil change.

If someone tells you that your automobile needs major repairs, but you’re skeptical, you could take it to a specialist who offers inspection services but not repairs. This way, you’re much more likely to get an objective opinion.

Recommended garages for automobile repairs

If you’d like the assurance that you’re doing business with a trusted auto repair shop, check with organizations like CAA Quebec or the APA (Automobile Protection Association). They can provide you with a list of recommended garages with a reputation for providing high-quality services.

How to know if your mechanic is honest

Is there anything more frustrating than finding out that you’ve paid for a service you didn’t need? Owning a car entails expenses, but that’s no reason to spend more than necessary. Especially since automobile repairs are usually expensive.

Here are a few examples of unnecessary services some mechanics offer in a fraudulent attempt to inflate your bill:

Engine washing

You shouldn’t agree to have your engine washed unless you’ve been driving your vehicle for several years and you’ve noticed an accumulation of grease underneath the oil cap.

Fuel injector cleaning

Your fuel injectors only need cleaning after you’ve driven more than 100,000 kilometers. If your vehicle is relatively new and you use good-quality gasoline, it’s very unlikely that your fuel injectors are dirty.

Gas-saving devices

Devices that are supposedly able to improve fuel economy have never proven to be truly effective. If you really want to conserve gasoline, avoid unduly rapid accelerations, use your brakes sparingly and remove any unnecessary items from your trunk or cargo area.

Transmission fluid changes

Most vehicles are equipped with filters that allow the transmission fluid to circulate freely. You should only consider changing your transmission fluid after you’ve driven your vehicle 100,000 kilometers.

Ask for a clear, detailed estimate

A fair estimate is one that’s clear and precise. An honest, competent mechanic will provide a detailed estimate that includes the price and will honor that agreement. Moreover, the Consumer Protection Act states that a garage must provide you with a written assessment of the repair costs if the estimate exceeds $100.

As an additional precaution, you can sign the estimate and retain a copy for your records. Estimates are often free; otherwise, they should never exceed 10 percent of the cost of the repairs.

What information should a written assessment include?

When it comes to repairing your automobile, any assessment in writing should include the following information:

  • Your full name and address
  • The name and address of the garage in question
  • The make, model and registration number of your vehicle
  • The nature and total cost of the repairs
  • The parts to be installed and their condition (new, used, reconditioned or rebuilt)
  • The date of the assessment and the period of validity

Information you must provide

To get a fair estimate and the best possible price, you’re also responsible for providing certain information. For example, a garage might ask you for the following:

  • The make, model and year of the vehicle
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The number of kilometers you drive in a year

Fair estimates and unparalleled service

Are you looking for a reputable garage that offers good prices and high-quality automobile repair services? Trans-Mico Automotive offers you an incomparable experience with top-notch general mechanical and transmission repair services. If you need to get an estimate or schedule an appointment or if you just have some questions, contact us!