1st Aug 2018
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Never be ripped off by a car mechanic again
Author: Olga Galacho
Explained: slash car repair costs

There are car mechanics who prey on vulnerable people, and there are those who offer great value.

Then there are the incompetent ones, who don’t set out to rip you off, but to whom you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each time they work on your car, only to find they haven’t fixed it.

In just the past three months, we have shelled out close to $2000 to get one or the other of two cars on the road, without luck.

It started when I needed a roadworthy certificate for my old car. That cost $160. A few days later, the car broke down and had to be towed back to the mechanics. Some $700 later, it was apparently good to go. But again, a few days on, it broke down again. I was determined not to have the car ‘fixed’ again.

We have another old car which we were contemplating selling for scrap because of its age. But so that I could hit the road again, we decided to give it one more whirl.

Off she went to a different mechanic. This one charged us $1100 but was honest enough to admit he would not guarantee the repair before he began working on the car.

Not surprisingly, the car barely drove 5km before beginning to shake and shudder.

We have now ‘road-tested’ just about every mechanic in our suburb and, over 25 years, we are yet to strike it lucky with any of them. Not even ones who come highly recommended by our neighbours have been able to get to the bottom of some of the mechanical failures we have endured.

Which is why, next time I need a mechanic, I will be using genuine comparison sites before making a selection. Here are some of the ones available:

AutoGuru
This site partners with automotive parts retailer Supercheap Auto. Car owners can research and compare pricing for thousands of repair workshops throughout Australia that are listed on AutoGuru.

The site promises transparent pricing and guarantees the best price. You can obtain free and fast upfront quotes and most workshops offer perks, such as a free car wash or loan car.

After answering a few questions, which include stating your car registration number, the site shows you a list of repair workshop members in your area with a quoted price for the job you have requested.

More importantly, you can see how previous customers have rated each mechanic, and read customer feedback.

Funnily, none of the mechanics I used in the past were listed.

Canstar Blue
This site offers a limited review of car servicing chains such as UltraTune, Kmart Tyre and Auto Service and Midas.

Serviceseeking.com.au
Mobile mechanics feature prominently on this site. Serviceseeking.com.au helps you sort through their listed members by highest ranking, number of reviews and price.

It displays members’ star-rating and customer feedback.

Oneflare
Oneflare is less of a comparison site and more of a platform which puts you in touch with tradesmen. You answer a few questions about your car, including its mileage, and the site will send the job request to its members.

Eventually, a few of them will contact you via email to offer their services.

Do you have a car mechanic you swear by? What tips do you have for weeding out rotten repair workshops?

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    COMMENTS

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    ace
    1st Aug 2018
    11:13am
    I use BDC auto in Penrith best guy & great work He is genuine & tries to spread work over time to reduce impact on my bills as I am a pensioner ! been 10 years & 2 cars still very happy ! he works alone & is only one to touch the car !!
    tisme
    1st Aug 2018
    11:17am
    I use ultra car care in Caboolture , have done for 10 years, doesn't treat u like a goof if your not mechanically minded , never had to re do anything and doesn't charge like a wounded bull
    Magic Touch
    1st Aug 2018
    12:23pm
    Have you ever come acrose that your car machanic suck fuel out of ýour car to use it for his own car every time you sent your car in. To day cars are all have a history of alam holding inside the car software so when they asses to the program the alam will show and is easy to get it fix and save time.
    Rosret
    1st Aug 2018
    12:26pm
    Its not just the vulnerable who are being preyed on. My son works for a company that has a fleet of cars that are all "serviced" by the dealership.
    However they would go in and come out worse than they went in. In my son's car the brakes were leaking, in this co workers car the brake line was across the exhaust. Both of them could have died.
    At the moment the boss is going to the dealership to get evidence of poor workmanship and then taking the cars directly to a private mechanic to have the work checked.
    Oddly enough the boss cares about his employees!
    Aussiefrog
    1st Aug 2018
    4:32pm
    I use Kinane car cleaning in Ipswich, no drama whatsoever.

    I would suggest to check how busy they are, if they do the right thing, their Carpark will be full.
    Aussiefrog
    1st Aug 2018
    4:32pm
    Should read
    Kinane car clinic
    Wendyloo
    1st Aug 2018
    4:52pm
    I have two motor vehicles, both bought new and have found down the track that when they are put in for servicing or recalls with the original company that sold them, the Company on both counts states that there is another problem and they quote a high price to have it fixed. I am now wary of having my cars serviced by the Companies that you buy them through and have had the problems "fixed" a lot cheaper with an approved mechanic.
    Magic Touch
    1st Aug 2018
    7:05pm
    You are right Wendyloo I also do the same thing like you buy the band new vehicles which ran on electricity & fuel. Sent in to service ànd they start charging you after the warranty service, after the service the car samce to be giving you more problem then you don,t sent in fòr service. As I hardly use the car they keep asking you to sent it in for service and they dòn,t do a thing at all, because I go oversea for a long holiday so the car just park in the garage for months. You know electric car had very least machanical pàrts. Because the Invèrter drive the electric motor to run the car and the fuel engine very seldom come on. Yat they charge you up to the roof. Untail I said to myself its enough. Because I myself was a Inverter & Batterys technician I know how the thing work, I were never to buy new car from them any more.
    MD
    1st Aug 2018
    9:04pm
    Look, when it's all boiled down it's probably a matter of 'the devil you do the devil you don't'. Most new vehicles nowadays need to return to the dealer for the first service, thereafter it's up to the owner where they elect to have servicing performed, any bona-fide technician will satisfy the needs for warranty purposes. However, there is a proviso (you knew there would be, right ?). Modern vehicles are computerized and unless your mechanic has the suitable software programme for analytical purposes then it's anyone's guess as to what they're doing - commonplace issues aside. Dealers mostly sell OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts at premium prices, where the local bloke will probably flog you after market products, cheaper than genuine parts, purchased at trade price and flogged at much the same price as dealer items.
    A 'quote' for most jobs is merely a guide and rare for any job to come in as quoted, variables such as 'unknowns' being 'found' in the process only add to the bottom line.

    The older the car the likelier the problem of add-ons eventuating as a result of seemingly small mechanical problems, beware !
    Some years ago our vehicle, then a VT Commodore, developed a no start problem. As we had purchased the car a year post manufacture date, for some 15 years we had realized an exceptionally good run up to this point. A local bloke virtually dismantled it trying to source the problem, when I enquired "what's the damage thus far?" I was knocked for six when he replied - "A grand". Checking valuation online proved the car to be worth ~$3k.
    Reckoning we'd had our money's worth we sold it roadside for $2700, (I'd eventually sourced the problem and rectified myself). Make of that story what you will.
    Happy motoring!
    LarryFine
    1st Aug 2018
    10:03pm
    This is obviously an add for AutoGuru - checking their price came out at a rediculous $2000 for a 90,000 k servicing - who are they kidding - what a joke
    Strummer
    2nd Aug 2018
    8:23am
    I took my car to Kmart Auto for service and asked them to charge the battery while it was there. When I returned to pick it up they said they had to replace the battery because it was faulty.
    I asked for the battery so I could claim a warranty replacement because it was only 8 months old. They reluctantly gave it to me and I took it to Marshall Batteries who tested it and declared it was in good working order.
    I went back to Kmart Auto and told them to replace their battery with the original and refund my money.
    I had to stand at the shop counter and demand my money very loudly before they would make a refund. They eventually did.
    rter
    6th Aug 2018
    11:36pm
    Unreliable masters are always a big problem. I found the article in https://edubirdie.com/term-papers-writing-services blog, where the specialist gave the detailed instruction on how to fight with the masters.


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