Category: Car Scams

car mechanic inspecting a car

Most Common Auto Repair Scams

Car Scams

It’s no secret that car repair scams are a common occurrence. In fact, they’re so common that most of us have probably been scammed at some point in our lives. But what are these scams, exactly? Why do they exist? Who falls victim to them? And most importantly, how can we protect ourselves from them? Let’s explore the most common car repair scams and find out!

Major Car Repair Scam Themes

Car repair scams tend to fall into a few different categories. Let’s take a look at the biggest themes we see among these scams:

Fake Total Loss Scam

This is by far the most common car scam out there, and very difficult for consumers to avoid without doing their homework beforehand. Here’s how this scam works: the mechanic will convince the victim that their car is a total loss because of damage that doesn’t really exist. They do this by pointing out tiny dents and scratches that could easily be repaired, but which they claim are signs of major structural damage.

Once taken in by the idea that their car is beyond repair, consumers are willing to pay for “full” replacement instead of spending time and money on repairs. This type of scam usually affects those without any experience working on cars themselves-we’ll talk about how to protect yourself from such scams later on!

Brake Scooter Scam

In this scam, the mechanic will tell you something called a brake scooter is a major problem with your brakes. The mechanic will explain that a brake scooter is caused by uneven wear on your brake pads, and can lead to further problems if not addressed.

Once the mechanic has convinced you to replace all of your brake pads, they proceed to sell you aftermarket parts at much higher prices than retail. These parts are usually inferior-quality knockoffs bought online or out of someone’s trunk, but they’re still more expensive than what you could buy yourself!

Selling Fake Parts Scam

Finally, there’s the selling fake parts scam. This one’s pretty straightforward. Crooked mechanics will attempt to convince unsuspecting customers that their existing auto parts need replacing-and then try selling them overpriced parts at a premium.

How Can We Avoid These Scams?

It can be very difficult to avoid these types of scams without being an expert on auto repair yourself. Mechanic education is not standardized from state to state or province to province, so there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get a reliable diagnosis from your mechanic-no matter how well they seem to know what they’re doing!  

Luckily, there are some simple things we can all do before spending money on car repairs. Check out our previous article that talks about how you can outsmart auto repair scammers out of devious deeds.

car mechanic

Outsmart Those Car Repair Scammer With These Tips

Car Scams

Car repairs often bring headaches to car owners. Not only does it mean that their beloved car has a problem, but it also means that they have to spend valuable time and money to get it repaired. While no one likes to pay the unplanned costs of repair a vehicle, the cost can skyrocket if the car mechanic scams them.

As old crusty Michigan repair shop owner and traveling mechanics, I’ve seen just about every scam you could think of, and then some. So today I wanted to share some sage advice on way in which you can outsmart those damned Car Repair Scammers.

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Auto Repair Shop

Classic Mechanic Scams

Car Scams

Taking your car to an auto mechanic can be a little stressful even for someone that knows a lot about cars, but for those that have no idea what’s under the hood, it can be downright traumatic experience.

While the majority of auto-mechanics are trustworthy guys and gals, it can be incredibly easy for a mechanic to trick you into having unneeded repairs, after all, they’re supposed to be experts in their field, why wouldn’t you take their word as the honest truth? As the old adage goes, “Trust but Verify” – so goes our advice toward dealing with auto mechanics.

With newer technology, there’s new scam being created every day in the auto repair world, here we’re going to cover a number of the common scams that mechanics have run on unsuspecting customers over the years, knowing them might even save you from being tricked yourself someday.

Oil Change Scam

“Can I Check Your Oil?” The setup goes like this: When the gas station attendants check your oil they put their thumb on the dipstick so that it leaves a little space when they put the stick into the motor for the test. A thumbs width looks like your more than a quart low, you really need to change your oil now because the old oil is too thin and leaking out through your gaskets.

An experienced scammer can do this trick while you’re standing there watching him, he’s done it a million times before you got there. Even if you don’t decide to have him change your oil, he’ll have some high priced house brand oil that he gets a couple of dollars commission on ready to top up your oil before you go on your way. It’s a good idea that everyone learns how to check their own oil and do it often.

If the gas station attendant says you need some right away, tell him you’ll take it straight to your mechanic and thank him for his time.

“Your Engine Sounds Like It’s Missing, Let Me Take A Look”

Spark plug disconnects are easy to pull out part way, causing an instant problem upon startup. A bad-apple mechanic can then spend all day replacing the rotor, cap, spark plugs, wires and other parts, only to reconnect the part he disabled at the end to “fix” your problem. It’s easy to run up $200-$500 on tune-up parts and labor, especially if he’s jacking the prices up as he goes.


Squeaking Brakes Don’t Always Need Replacement

Many disc brakes will squeak even though they are working fine and have thousands of miles left before they wear out. Sometimes all they need is a quick shot of brake cleaner to remove built up dust. The only way you’ll really know is to watch the mechanic remove the wheel and actually look at the pads.

Disc brakes are usually quick and easy to replace, and high-quality pads can be purchased on sale for low prices at the parts store. When you get snagged at the local mechanic’s place he might be looking to make several hundred dollars in profit on just one job. Meanwhile, a high volume national chain may have brake jobs on sale for $59 per axle, saving you hundreds of dollars.

Stay Informed

Getting scammed at the auto mechanic isn’t fun. Our advice, always, is to do your research on a potential mechanic. However, if for some reason you’re in a bind and need help from the nearest auto repair shop, make sure you stay involved with the repair, ideally right there with the mechanic in order to keep an eye on any potential scam.

Scammers work best when their customers are in the dark – so stay informed and – when in doubt – go for a second opinion.

About Me

TerrysArticles is brought to you by ME!, traveling Mechanic Terry Wade, I’m do my darndest to update the site with the best quality articles and news available on the internet and elsewhere to help you diagnose and fix your vehicle yourself.

Thanks for stopping by!

T Wade - At the Shop
T Wade - At the Shop

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