If its just pads, sure change them yourself, but since its a safety thing I still like to take it in. My car had really bad brakes and that was money well spent. So to keep from being ripped off, its not about doing it yourself, because that implies you are better at the repair then they are, but its about being educated.
As a car owner, you have two options: Find a good, honest and reliable car mechanic, or become one yourself. In the meantime, be careful when it comes to the following ten repairs.
10.) A Simple Oil Change
You should learn how to change your own oil. It's fairly simple and when you dispose of the hazardous waste at a gas station you can feel satisfied.
9.) A Simple Tire Change
Try to hunt down a deal where balancing and installing comes with the purchase of the new tires. A simple tire change should be done at home.
8.) Fuel Injector Cleaning
littlesisterswhip is getting ripped off:
I have a 2004 Tacoma and every time I get the oil changed they push "injector cleaning" on me for about $80.
It is. A few tips:
Pistol Pete: Put a tank of high octane fuel in it and give her the 'ol "Italian tuneup." It's essentially the same thing.
If that doesn't sound convincing, listen to thevegetable:
$7 a can. Pour in gas tank. I can almost guarantee that is the exact product they are putting in your car and charging you an exorbitant amount for. Unless they are physically removing the injectors, you're getting ripped off big time.
7.) A Safety Inspection That Turns Into Repairs
Great stories all around:
I go to one Midas with my 1995 Defender 90 (OBD1 car)and the guys look at the brakes and the lights (doesn't need a sniffer test anymore)and charges me 11 bucks, which is what it's always been. Take the same car to another Midas down the road next time around.. Guy says it's a minimum of 70 bucks in labor before parts, car needs to go on a lift and get test driven by a technician and the best part.. "if the pads are under 50% NY state requires I change them before releasing the car back to you". I was laughing so hard as I walked out the door with my middle finger in the air.
My girlfriend went into NTB (National Tire Battery) and her SX4 failed the WV Inspection. He called her and said that a license plate bulb and the windshield wipers caused her to fail inspection but he was nice and went ahead and replaced them for her. Wipers $32 EACH, plus a $9 install charge EACH and the bulb was $15 with a $7 install charge I believe. The $11 or $12 inspection was around $130
I was PISSED.
Don't let them fool you.
6.) Routine Brake Maintenance
Both drum and disc brakes are relatively easy to work on. 900turbo suggests we should learn how to fix them:
Try to save myself time with the $59.99 brake special only to have them quote me $500 because my year old rotors need replacing and my calipers are frozen.
End up spending the $40 on pads and doing it myself.
Still, if you're not sure about it, keep it safe and leave it to the pros.
5.) Changing A Headlight Bulb
I know it's almost impossible on some modern cars, but give it a go before you start throwing money out the window.
4.) Replacing The Air Filter
I don't want to repeat myself, just listen to LyleLanley:
Though, air filters need to be changed on regular basis, the oil change shops really love to rake people over the coals on something that they can do by themselves quite easily. The mark-ups that they put on those parts are just tremendous. I once saw a guy, when he thought no one was looking, sprinkle mulch and leaves from outside the shop on to an air filter and then show it to a female customer to entice her to buy a new one.
They leave the dirty in, charge you for a new one. Knowledge is power.
3.) Carbon Cleaning
Hard to do at home, and they're aware of that:
Carbon cleaning is the next thing it seems. Not everyone can do it on their own, not everyone even has the tools or time required to, and the dealer shops and other establishments know this all too well.
2.) Transmission Repair
Ok, so it'a hard to get to gearboxes and pretty labor intensive to fix them. But that doesn't mean they always need as much work as some mechanics claim, as Brian, The Life of points out.
So many minor things can go wrong that seem like very major things. It is very easy for a tranny shop to charge for a major repair when the problem was something solved by a simple flush.
1.) Fixing Paint
One scratch: one thousand dollars.
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