Sometimes going to the auto repair shop can feel like entering a casino, without the fun. It seems like the mechanics want to lure you into a game of chance with your money on the line. Protect your wallet by keeping an eye out for the most common car repair upsells and scams ahead of time.
For example, they might mislead you into thinking that certain car parts need to be replaced or cleaned. This is because many mechanic shops operate on commission. This means that every mechanic has a financial incentive to sell to you.
They often take advantage of your ignorance, misleading you into thinking that different car parts need to be replaced or cleaned. Just like that, your budgeting app’s numbers are completely flipped. Before heading to a mechanic, watch out for these common auto repair upsells, sponsored by CarShield.
1. Vehicle fluid refill services are one of the most common upsells
Many mechanics will check your fluid levels while working on your car. Even if you come for an unrelated issue, they might say your fluids are low.
If someone offers fluid replacement and exchange services, take a moment before accepting. It’s easy to say “yes” automatically, but you have to practice pausing. Otherwise, you will face costly additions to your bill.
Remember that you only need to change your coolant after 100,000 miles. Of course, this depends on your vehicle model, so check your manual.
2. Air filter replacements
Usually you should change your air filters every 15-60,000 miles. Mechanics often try to increase your bill by making you feel like your air filter is gross. They might even say that replacing it would be better for your health.
Once they start showing new filters, pay attention. They are trying to embarrass you, so you are forced to buy it. Inspect it yourself before going to the garage to see if it really needs a replacement. Chances are, he doesn’t need a change.
But even if it is, you can buy it online and install it yourself. It’s not hard, so save a few bucks and say, “No thanks!”
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3. Tread Problems
Unwanted tire inspections can result in additional charges to your bill. They can cost you hundreds of dollars, so be careful! Remember that mechanics are incredibly motivated to get you to buy new tires because they are expensive.
If a tire is flat, ask them to plug it instead of replacing it. Also, you should know that you don’t need to buy specific tire brands. Some brands are more expensive than others. But they have a universal sizing system, so you can use cheaper tires and feel just as safe.
The International Organization for Standardization has created a universal tile sizing system, which makes tire replacement easier. So if a mechanic makes you feel like you have to rely on them because the tires are complicated, beware. This is most likely a bunch of nonsense.
4. Unnecessary oil changes
The last time you changed your oil, you received a sticker telling you when you would need the next one. Usually it comes with a date and mileage.
Use it the next time a mechanic suggests a preventative oil change. They could suggest a change before it was needed. Just like that, you’re out of money.
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5. Brake Fluid Upsells
Mechanics will often try to sell you by offering a brake fluid change. Maybe they’ll try to intimidate and impress you with lingo you don’t understand, like “brake flush” or “bleed.” Many auto repair shops try to pressure you into getting this service, even if you don’t need it.
According to Cars.com, you only need to change brake fluid once every few years. Depending on your model, you could never need a change. You should check your car’s maintenance schedule from the manufacturer to be sure.
Not All Auto Repair Upsells Are Scams
There are some upsells from a mechanic you actually need, like adding a light tint to your windows to help prevent cracks in the dashboard. You might also need a coolant change, for example. Drivers need this service every two to three years.
My advice: check your owner’s manual and follow the scheduled maintenance. Stop falling for peer pressure. Make a spreadsheet beforehand. Enter the different car services you need – and when you need to upgrade.
That way, a mechanic’s deceptive upsells won’t fool you. You already know what your car needs. You have entered all the data in your spreadsheet!
You do not know where to start ? Luckily, there are tons of free spreadsheet templates you can find online. Save time and get your numbers right with 10 free spreadsheet templates that help you manage your finances.
Use Kim’s Secret Trick to Save Money at the Auto Shop
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This is where CarShield comes in. You could save thousands of dollars on covered repairs. CarShield offers customizable and flexible payment plans with no long-term contracts. Plus, you can choose your favorite mechanic or dealership to do the job.
They also offer free 24/7 roadside assistance and a rental car while yours is being repaired. CarShield has helped over a million customers! Drive with confidence with America’s #1 auto protection company. Protect yourself from surprises and save thousands for a covered repair!
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