| Car Life
Car mechanic shows the repairs to the customer on the work order

If you’ve ever driven away from the auto mechanic feeling like your wallet just took a big hit, you’re not alone. According to a consumer survey by AutoMD.com, the majority of people feel overcharged when they visit their auto mechanic. In fact, they rank the experience on par with going to the dentist – with women actually preferring the dentist to the mechanic. Ouch! We don’t think getting your car repaired should be anything like getting a cavity filled. Use these helpful tips to make sure you’re not overpaying for repairs on your next trip to the shop!

Tip #1: Read your owner’s manual.

When it comes to your car, knowledge is power. The owner’s manual is a free resource where you can learn all about the needs of your specific vehicle. Flip through it with a highlighter and mark anything that seems important. How to check fluids, read warning lights, and troubleshoot common problems all fall into the “important” category. Take special note of when specific maintenance is due so that you don’t sign up for unnecessary services before you need them. Can’t find your manual? Search from thousands of automotive manuals onlinefor free!

Tip #2: Stay on top of your car’s maintenance.

On that note, it’s crucial to stay on top of your car’s routine maintenance schedule. Make sure you’re changing the oil and the air filters at the appropriate times, and keeping track of when the tires need to be rotated. By keeping your car up-to-date with routine maintenance, you’ll reduce your risk of running into preventable problems and hurting the car’s resale value down the road. Plus, neglecting routine maintenance can make your car unsafe to drive.

Tip #3: Do your homework.

When a problem with your car arises, take note of everything. Write down when it happens, how you were driving, which lights come on, what it sounds or feels like, and anything else you notice. Then, do some online research before heading into the auto shop. Narrow down a list of possible causes and visit sites like AutoMD.com to get a range of average repair prices for these issues. Informed and confident customers are less likely to get upsold. You may also find that the auto service or test you need is free!

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.

If a mechanic gives you a price that seems high to you, especially after you’ve done your research, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. Take your vehicle somewhere else and see what estimate another mechanic gives you – you’re not always stuck paying the first number you hear. If you know the exact repair you need, you can even call around to different shops from the comfort of your own home!

Tip #5: Ask for your old parts back in the box of the new parts.

Most mechanics are honest. However, there are some that will replace parts in your car that aren’t in need of replacement, or give you a used part and charge you for a new one. To reduce the chance of this happening to you, request that they give your old part back in the box your new part came in. You’ll get to examine the condition of your old part and get the packaging of the new part to assure you that it’s new. If the shop can’t accommodate this request, it might be a red flag that you’re getting scammed.

Tip #6: Pick your mechanic based on the 3 R’s: ratings, reviews, and referrals.

When you’re searching for a mechanic you can trust, look at the mechanics your friends, neighbors, and family trust. Ask around! Find out where other people in your town go and inquire about their experiences. Check out ratings and reviews of auto mechanics in your area via Google or the Better Business Bureau to see who to look for and to avoid. MechanicRatingz.com is a great place to find, rate, and review mechanics in your area.

At Direct Auto Insurance, we’re committed to affordability, simplicity, and savings. From the auto repair shop to auto insurance, our mission is to help you save more in everyday life. Give us a call at 1-877-GO-DIRECT to see how much you could be saving with Direct Auto’s car insurance discounts today. Many customers have already reported up to $565 a year in savings when they switched to Direct Auto!*

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*$565 Savings information based on August 2012 survey of customers who switched to Direct. Per year savings is relative to premium paid before switching. Payment plans and coverages are subject to terms and conditions and may not be available in all states. Premiums and savings will vary. Cost may vary based on how you buy. Direct General Group, Nashville, TN.