10 Ways Your Mechanic Is Ripping You Off Source:

Most mechanics are decent, hardworking folks. That said, more than a few mechanics are known for taking liberties when it comes to diagnosing problems with a vehicle. What most mechanics count on is the fact that their customers don’t know anything about the car they drive. This allows them to tell their clients whatever they want—even if it means inflating a bill with a bunch of unnecessary costs. And many of the unnecessary costs are the same from mechanic to mechanic. So, if your mechanic mentions any of the following items to you, be sure to get a second opinion. Otherwise, you could end up getting ripped off.

10. The Brake Rotors Need to be Replaced

This is a classic. Remember, just because your brake pads need to be replaced, it doesn’t mean the brake rotors need replacing too. If it is the first time your car’s brakes have been serviced, chances are the rotors don’t need to be replaced. The good news is that you can check the rotors yourself. Take a finger and rub it along the rotor. If the rotor doesn’t have any deep ridges that you can feel with your finger (on most cars you can see and feel your rotors through the hubcap), the mechanic should be able to use a lathe to scrape off a layer of metal and enable you to keep using the rotors. This process is called “turning the rotors” and it costs a fraction of what it would cost to replace the rotor outright. Source:

9. Changing the Spark Plugs

Another tried and true one, changing the spark plugs is as old as the sunset. To be fair, there was a time when changing spark plugs in a vehicle needed to happen at least once a year. That’s because older engines didn’t burn fuel very efficiently, and the spark plugs would become ruined by carbon build up. But that no longer happens with the engines in today’s vehicles. If a car has fewer than 100,000 miles and your mechanic says it needs new spark plugs, either there’s an underlying problem causing it that he or she should be telling you about, or the mechanic in question is a crook. Either way, it would be in your interest to get a second opinion. Source:

8. Charging Full Price for Remanufactured Parts

There’s nothing wrong with remanufactured (used) parts, as long as you’re not paying more for them than you should be paying. In fact, on an older vehicle, remanufactured parts are a great way to get a car moving again and save yourself precious dollars. However, many unscrupulous mechanics will charge you for shiny new parts only to fill your vehicle with old, remanufactured parts. The good news for the consumer is that you can look up the cost of remanufactured vehicle parts online. Websites such as will quickly tell you how much you should be paying for remanufactured vehicle parts versus new parts. And always ask a mechanic to give you the old parts from a vehicle when you leave their garage. This way you can inspect the parts yourself and you can ensure that they don’t end up in the car of another unsuspecting customer. Never trust a mechanic who says he or she doesn’t provide the customer with their old parts. After all, they are your parts. They come from your car. You own them, not the mechanic. Source:

7. One Fix After Another

Many mechanics will tell you what they believe the problem with your car is, fix it, charge you for the repair, only to find out that—lo and behold—that wasn’t the problem at all and your car still isn’t running as it should. The mechanic inspects your car again (charges you for it), suggests a new problem (charges you for it), and does another repair (charges you for that one too). You pay up a second time, leave the auto shop again and find that your car breaks down yet again or that a repair light on the dashboard shows up again. You then turn around, head back to the auto shop, where the mechanic scratches his head in bewilderment, inspects your car a third time (charges you for it), suggests a repair (charges you!) and does yet another fix (cha-ching). Okay, stop the insanity. If you find yourself in this trap, get out of it by heading to another garage. The mechanic in question is clearly ripping you off. You should only ever pay for one repair. If the mechanic doesn’t get it right the first time, you shouldn’t have to pay for him to get it right a second, third or fourth time. Source:

6. Not Grouping Repairs When Calculating Labor

There are some parts, such as a water pump, that aren’t easy to access on a car. This requires removing other parts to get to the water pump. If some of those other parts that are removed are old and worn out, changing them out at the same time as the water pump makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense, is charging customers for the labor on the other parts when it was already part of the water pump replacement. If the estimate on a repair bill doesn’t exactly line up, and you’re unsure where each labor charge is coming from, that should definitely be a red flag. After all, mechanics should be paid by the hour, not for the part they repair, replace, or, in some cases, simply touch. Source:

5. Additives

Additives are the snake oil of the automotive industry. Many mechanics push additives like they own stock in the companies that manufacture them. And while your mechanic may tell you that additives are a miracle cure-all for your vehicle, the truth is that most additives are unnecessary and a waste of money. Put them in the same pile as the extended warranty. Additives are not likely to hurt your car, they’re not going to make it run perfectly either. If there’s a specific issue that your mechanic is trying to fix, like using fuel additive with extra detergents to avoid a more costly cleaning procedure, that’s one thing. If the aim is simply to make the car run better, you should either demand an explanation or tell your mechanic he’d have better luck selling snow to Eskimos. Source:

4. Offering a Free Inspection or Tire Rotation

One of the most reliable ways to get people (suckers) through the door at a garage is by offering a free inspection of your vehicle, or, if you’re lucky, a free tire rotation. The truth is that this is just an excuse for a mechanic to go over your vehicle and recommend as many things to repair or replace as possible. Most of which will not be necessary. The reality is that if there is a problem with your car, you’ll know. And that is when you should bring the car to a garage for an inspection and repairs. Going to an auto shop simply because an inspection is being offered for free is a waste of time, and could end up being a waste of your hard-earned money too. Be forewarned. Source:

3. Replacing the Air Filter

Air filters seldom need to be replaced, and when they do, it is a part that people can quickly and easily replace themselves at a fraction of the cost that mechanics charge at a garage. Yet air filters are one of the parts mechanics love to tell people need to be replaced. The internet is riddled with stories of mechanics putting mulch and leaves into a car air filter and then telling an unsuspecting customer that it needs to be replaced. And the mark-up on the air filters is ridiculous. Don’t fall for it. Check the air filter yourself periodically. And, if you feel it needs to be replaced, head to Lowes yourself to buy the air filter, which you can then install yourself—for free. Source:

2. Fixing the Body Paint

Any vehicle, no matter how nice and expensive, eventually gets some nicks and scrapes on the body. This is unavoidable, and, in most cases, not very noticeable to anyone but the car’s owner. It also has no impact on the vehicle’s performance or operation. Yet mechanics love to make people feel that their car would look so much better, and run so much better, if they only got the paint on the body touched up, or, even better, completely repainted. This is totally unnecessary and a huge waste of money. It will not even impact the resale value of a car. So don’t bother with it. A nick here and a scratch there is no big deal. Unless there is major damage on a vehicle, there is no reason to touch the paint job. Source: YouTube

1. Scare Tactics

Most sales people worth their salt will use a scare tactic or two to try and pressure their customers into buying what they’re selling. And mechanics are as guilty of this as the next salesman. Some of the more popular lines include “I wouldn’t drive a car in that condition,” and “If it were my family in the car…” Some mechanics will even stoop to telling customers that it is against the law for them to let your vehicle out of their garage before the needed repairs have been completed. Watch out for that one as it is an outright lie. Regardless of what a mechanic says, never feel pressure to pay for a repair you are unsure of or cannot afford—especially if you are still able to drive your car at the time. Never hesitate to use a scare tactic of your own and tell a mechanic that you want to get a second opinion, or have the work done at another garage. Source:

Jack Sackman

Jack Sackman

Jack Sackman has been writing about movies and TV for Goliath since 2013.