Most car owners are paranoid about getting ripped off by their mechanics. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Carama.com and paultan.org, 77% of Malaysian drivers are dissatisfied with quality of repair, and 71% are unsure if the repaired problem will resurface.
Unfortunately, most drivers worry they can’t trust their mechanics. Even though not all mechanics are dishonest, to avoid being ripped off for car repairs the best defense is going into the situation armed with as much information as possible.
Forget burning the midnight oil reading up about car repairs. Here is what you need to know to avoid being scammed by your auto repair guy.
1) Estimate how much your repair will cost
Had enough surprises from your mechanic when they present to you the bill after a (what you thought was a) standard car service?
You don’t have to be in this situation if you already know what your car needs and how much it will cost. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a car mechanic yourself to gauge that. Use online calculator like the one on Carama.com to estimate the cost.
This way you can at least prepare yourself mentally before being served with an exorbitant bill at the end of the service. And if presented with a bill way beyond this, you’ll be informed enough to contest it.
2) Find the best mechanics & stick to them
Imagine a mechanic who understands what you are thinking before you even verbalise your thoughts. Sounds too good to be true?
If you are a new car owner or have recently moved to a new town, the prospect of finding your mechanic-soul mate all over again can be quite daunting. One way to eliminate crooked mechanics is by getting a referral. You can ask your friends or neighbours for their recommendations, or you can look up auto repair shops review online through websites like Carama.com
3) Service on time to avoid major breakdown
Yes, you’ve heard it from your dad many times but we have to say it again. Always service your car on time. Your car, like any machine, needs attention and maintenance.
If your response to this is, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” then you need to make time. Set up reminder for your next service so you won’t miss it again. You can set the reminder on your phone, note it down on your calendar or even use online reminder (also available on Carama.com).
There are two ways to gauge whether it’s time for a service: by the mileage or by the deadline (usually three or six months) – whichever comes first.
4) Educate yourself to avoid being scammed
Has your mechanic ever shown you some nondescript wiring in the engine of your car that needs to be changed immediately or risk your car breaking down in the middle of the road? Or have you been told that a (insert a car part) is worn out and absolutely must be changed – and, oh, it will cost you about RM500 bucks to change it?
We’ve all been there. And to avoid looking like an ignorant driver, we all timidly agree with the mechanic and fork out the RM500, instead of asking what is the (insert car part) for and how does it work.
Get informed. Find out if your car has a timing belt and how often you need to change it? How about the shock absorbers? Do they need to be changed every year? Keep track of what has been changed and what is due for a change to avoid being fooled.
Read real reviews on mechanics and shops online and ask around to really understand your car before dumping thousands of dollars on something that you may not need to change at all. Don’t fix something that is not broken!
5) Demand for a warranty
Have you ever sent your car for a fix and after a day or two, the same problem occur again (or worse more problems)? A common car problem can add up to thousands of Ringgit with a less experienced foreman assigned to fix your car.
Yes, this can be a frustrating process indeed. One way around it is to request for a warranty from your repair shop. Not many drivers know this, but it is your right to get your car fixed properly without going bankrupt in the process.
Though not every mechanic will agree to it, by booking your service through Carama.com with one of their certified workshops, you will automatically get a warranty for three months or 5,000km in mileage.
Now, you can rest assured that your car is fixed accordingly.
Owning a car is not just about driving it, but also about maintaining it. Trust us, spending a little regularly beats forking out thousands of Ringgit when something major breaks down. And if you still find it a little daunting, Carama.com offers some great tips!