No one wants to be overcharged for anything: food, travel, vehicle upkeep… Learning you’ve been “duped” is a terrible feeling, isn’t it? Unfortunately, we all fall victim to this once in a while. But you know what, being fooled into paying too much for anything is entirely avoidable.
You see, a few years ago, I brought my truck in for a simple oil change. I’d just moved here to Rockville, MD, from nearly a thousand miles away and I knew NOBODY. Of course, I was due for an oil change and I needed to find somewhere I could be taken care of fairly… But where?
So, I procrastinated. I know, I know—oil changes are important and if my dad knew I procrastinated, he’d be so disappointed in me. But, here’s the thing: being a woman in need of anything auto-related is unnerving. Too many mechanics think we don’t know the tires from the hood of the car. Well, check out these helpful tips I’ve learned along the way to avoid being overcharged!
1. Know what you need
This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert on your vehicle, but have some general knowledge of common issues and vehicle lingo. Take a little time to look up the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Many mechanics will—not maliciously—recommend maintenance based on mileage alone. But, not all vehicles are the same and yours may not need a tune-up or an oil change as regularly as the next.
2. Don’t be too shy to ask for proof
It’s not insulting to say, “show me the issue.” It’s not. I’ve actually asked this of many mechanics. Good ones (like the ones at Preferred Automotive) are happy to show and teach customers about the issue or the pending issue(s) coming your way. Rotors need replacing? Ask to see the damaged ones. Oil filter need replacing? Ask to see the dirty filter so you can learn what that looks like.
3. Beware of hidden costs
There are many well-meaning auto repair shops out there who are simply following “the rules” of their employer, but fees need to be discussed up-front. So, things like disposal fees (tires, filters, oil) should be on the estimate before the services are completed, not tagged-on afterward. If you run into this, address it.
4. Work with a professional
Yes, it can be tempting to work with Jimmy Bob down the street because he charges MUCH less than an ASE-certified shop, but the credentials matter in the long-run. If you get poorly done repairs, you could be paying more for extra fixes in the near future. With a professional, you have financial recourse.
The team over at Preferred Automotive wants to help you avoid being overcharged for automotive services, which is why they have become a household name in my family. Do you live in Rockville, MD, or nearby? Consider giving them a call to set up your next Rockville, MD oil change station and see what they’re about! I know you’ll love them like I do.
Preferred Automotive | 12356 Wilkins Ave | Rockville, MD 20852 | 301-881-8530