Regardless of how we all want our cars to run smoothly and be trouble-free, most of us still rely on auto mechanics to diagnose and fix our beloved machines. While most of these technicians are just trying to earn an honest living in Singapore, there are still some who take advantage of their client’s lack of experience and rip them off on the car repair costs. So if you want to avoid getting overcharged the next time you take your car for maintenance or repair, read on to discover the best-kept secrets of the car repair industry.
1. There is no need to bring your car to the auto mechanic for every repair
The car repair industry in Singapore earns millions every year, with the minor repairs accounting for a large part of this amount. While the automotive industry doesn’t inform you about it, there are actually a lot of things that you can fix on your own with just little help from video tutorials and the use of basic tools.
For instance, air filters only require minimal effort and a few minutes to replace. Depending on your vehicle and your willingness to get your hands dirty, you could also change your own engine oil and spark plugs, which could prove to be a rewarding experience – not to mention that it will cut down your costs on car maintenance and repair.
2. There are guides that outline the correct labour charge for each repair
There are several guides that tell auto mechanics how long a car repair should take, depending on your vehicle model and the problem. Perhaps your mechanic didn’t want you to know about this, since it’s already a common practice for them to charge what they feel is appropriate than what is really the accepted standard.
To avoid getting ripped off, ask your car servicing provider to give you a breakdown of all the labour hours needed to fix your car and then cross-reference it with the guide. If the mechanic refuses to give you a breakdown or starts making up excuses to cover up the discrepancy with their labour hours, then it might be better if you take your business somewhere else.
3. Recycled or rebuilt car parts are as good as new parts – and are less expensive
Your car workshop may have convinced you otherwise, but rebuilt car parts actually work as well as the new parts but at a cheaper price. It also comes with a warranty, which ensures that the parts have been reconstructed to a certain quality standard. Perform some research before purchasing recycled or rebuilt parts, and ensure that the part you are buying is compatible with your specific issue and your vehicle.
4. You can take back your old parts after the repair
It could happen on purpose or by mistake, but it’s possible that your auto mechanic will not replace the part that was worn out. By taking your old parts back after the repair, you will know whether or not the particular part was really worn out and was replaced. In the event your mechanic refuses to return the part and gives the “I already threw them out” excuse, start getting suspicious and question the integrity of your car servicing provider.
5. What their previous clients thought of the services they provided
Hopefully, they would want you to know this – at the very least they will, if they have a good reputation to back them up. One way of doing it is by asking around to see which car servicing in Singapore people are using and what their experiences were like with a particular repair shop. Companies like http://www.merlinmotorworks.com/ in Singapore have a good reputation. If you want, you can also check online to see how a specific car service centre is rated by its customers. Just be aware though, that different locations of the same brand could have vastly different reputations.
6. Some car repair shops offer more affordable labour rates than others
Dealers are often the most expensive, followed by chain garages, while the smaller repair shops – specifically those in rural areas in Singapore – are the cheapest. Although some of these establishments may not have the latest diagnostic equipment, they are still capable of performing most maintenance and repair services like brake, exhaust and suspension work. But when it comes to repairs involving electrical, emission and ignition issues, it’s best to ensure that your prospective car workshop has the all the necessary tools and expertise.
7. They don’t always have the solution to your problem
Perhaps you expect your mechanic to have the solution to your car problem, but that really isn’t always the case – especially with today’s vehicles and their refined electronic equipment. Yes, some technicians are better than the other, but even the best get stumped every now and then especially if they don’t have any access to proper repair manuals and diagnostic equipment. Don’t let your mechanic to just perform any car servicing on your vehicle, hoping that it will resolve the issue. Most car models have enthusiast websites that explain how certain car problems are resolved, which may elude some auto mechanics.
8. Some repairs are just optional or have workarounds
Some car maintenance and repairs are necessary, especially if it involves your and your family’s safety. But do you really need the fancy feature your mechanic is offering? Is there a cheap way to fix your problem? These are some of the questions worth considering, especially if you are driving an old unit. In this case, it might be better to just get the car back on the road without really fixing the problem.
Keeping yourself from getting conned by your car servicing provider isn’t as difficult as you think. Simply knowing these secrets will already help you make the most out of your car repair services without getting overcharged.