Car repairs are an unfortunate fact of vehicle ownership. No matter what make and model you drive, there will eventually come a time when you have to have repairs made. Whether due to road debris, wear and tear, an auto accident or something else, this can be a daunting process. You can be tempted to just hit one mechanic and follow their recommendations, but that’s not the best option. Not getting a second opinion can cause you serious expenses and you might just find that the problem isn’t fixed.
The Potential for Misdiagnosis
Mechanics have in-depth training, education and experience on which to draw when diagnosing a problem with your vehicle. However, it doesn’t mean they aren’t sometimes mistaken. (Note: Every time I get an oil change at the dealership there are at least three new things recommended for repair. Yet, when I go back for my next oil change, I’m recommended three different repairs…mistake or their way of making extra money?) Even medical doctors can make mistakes, and you’d never trust just one diagnosis of a serious medical condition. You would get a second opinion (most doctors recommend this, actually). (Note: I recommend getting a second and third opinion depending on the medical condition and for serious car repairs.)
The same concept applies to having your vehicle diagnosed. The potential here is that the underlying problem with your vehicle is actually smaller than what the original mechanic determines, which equates to a lower repair cost for you.
Make Them Compete
Yet another benefit with getting a second opinion on your needed repairs is that you take the advantage away from both mechanics. If you were to take your vehicle to just one mechanic, he has the advantage over you, dictating the price of the repair.
However, when you compare your options from more than one mechanic or repair shop, you’ll gain the advantage. Because you’re not relying on the word of just one mechanic, you are able to make an informed decision about your needs. What’s more – you’ll find that having quotes from more than one mechanic actually forces both of them to compete for your business. By competing for your business they are more willing to offer a lower price to secure your repair work. While you might not notice a huge drop in price, every little bit helps.
Compare Apples to Apples
Before you rush out and get two random mechanics to quote repair prices, you need to make sure that you’re comparing like to like. Understand that some repair centers have higher prices off the bat – dealerships are notorious for high prices and their unwillingness to price match (unless you’re matching the price from another dealer with the same brand). Therefore, comparing the price from a dealer to a private repair center’s price is going to be skewed.
You also need to make sure that you’re comparing quality mechanics. Anyone can quote you a price for diagnosing and repairing your car, but that doesn’t mean they’re qualified to work on your vehicle. Different makes and models require different skill sets to repair (a Dodge expert isn’t likely to have the skills necessary to work on your Maserati).
Another factor here is the quality and reputation of the repair centers you’re comparing. You certainly need to make sure the mechanics from which you get quotes are all ASE certified and have a reputation for providing fair pricing, accurate repairs and good customer service. Of course, the comparison process will help you weed out any shops that don’t fit the bill.
In the end, getting a second opinion about your repairs just makes good sense. You’d want a second opinion about any disease or illness you experience, and you should do the same thing for your car. You only stand to benefit by making mechanics compete against one another for your business.
Have you ever had a situation where you went to get a second opinion and were told you needed additional repairs? Do you have any tips on how to save on car repairs?