Tips to avoid a Rip-Off


Avoid the Rip-Off !!

Or so the headline goes.

If you believe the 'Current Affairs' programs, every mechanic is a theif who is waiting to take advantage of you.

The fact is, most mechanics are honest, hard working people who take their clients safety and welfare very seriously. 

Taking a car to the mechanic for a service puts many people in an unfamiliar situation. Modern vehicle technology (and the terminology that goes with it) can be very confusing and may leave a novice feeling quite uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, (as with any profession) there are less trustworthy operators out there who, despite being only a small minority, manage to give the rest of the industry a bad name.  

Detailed here are some tips on how to avaoid arm you with the best way to


Acquaint yourself with a good mechanic

The best advice is to find a professional mechanic you trust for your car servicing and can build a relationship with and not feel at risk of being ripped-off.

Many people believe if their car is under warranty they must have it serviced with the manufacturer. Luckily, technical and legal barriers have been reduced to maintain a level playing field in the automotive repair industry. This ensures there are many professional independent mechanics who can service your car without affecting your warranty. These independent servicing mechanics may also be closer to home or work and better value. Ensure you confirm with the mechanic that they can service the car in accordance with it's log-book and warranty conditions.


  • Look beyond the seller of a qualified car servicing mechanic, even within the warranty.
  • Ask for a recommendation from friends and family.
  • Build a relationship with your mechanic through repeat service.
  • Ensure your mechanic can explain what will be done to your car in plain English, this way you will feel more comfortable.
  • Don’t jump ship to a new mechanic just to pick up on an online deal, they are more likely to reduce the quality of their work to make up for the discount in price.


Preparing to take your car for a service

There are several things you can do to prepare yourself for a trip to the mechanic. 


  • Read your owner’s manual, you will feel more confident when you know what is required at each service.
  • If you are unsure of the price that is quoted get another quote.
  • Clean your car, a mechanic is more likely to respect a well cared for vehicle.
  • Service your car at the recommended intervals, they are suggested to keep your car in top condition.


Unexpected costs

A car service may uncover faults with your car which need to be dealt with immediately, that are outside of what you expected from a car service. You may be concerned that this is not a necessary fix, perhaps just a mechanic’s attempt at trying to get an easy buck out of you, a rip-off.

There are several reasons why the mechanic is probably just being professional. A car service mechanic would not be doing their job properly if they did not include a general inspection of the overall condition of the car as part of the procedure, as this helps to ensure the timely identification of problem areas, including safety issues, that may need attention before the next service is due. If a piece of equipment isn’t going to hold up until your next car service they will suggest replacing it during the current one. In some situations they are legally obligated to alert you to problems with your car.


  • Always sign a job card or authority that specifically outlines the work you have requested. 
  • Insist the mechanic rings you before they proceed with any additional work.
  • Make sure the mechanic explains the required fix to you in a way you understand. 
  • Seek advice from an industry body such as the MTA or a motoring club.


To fix or not to fix

Car servicing is often an unwanted expense so additional requirements outside a standard service can hit the budget hard. Therefore the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘is this really necessary?’. Some people might even be suspicious the mechanic is trying to up sell.

A professional mechanic will not make recommendations based on just trying to turn over a bit of extra cash, your loyalty and repeat business is more valuable. Often it will be cheaper for you to fix the problem during the service because the vehicle is already dismantled. Also, if you wait until the issue gets to a point when your car is no longer in working condition you could potentially cause more damage. For example, if a rubber timing belt were to break it could lead to extensive engine damage, which can cost many thousands of dollars to rectify.

In saying this what price do you put on safety or even just peace of mind?


  • If a major part needs replacing, you can ask the mechanic to show you the old part before they dispose of it.
  • Make sure you receive a fully itemised report of all work performed. 

A trip to the mechanic shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable. Find the right mechanic for you, know your car and what is required for that service and ask questions of your mechanic when you are unsure. Armed with this tips your next visit to a car servicing mechanic should be a better experience.