Auto Repair Shops - Introduction

In the US , the word 'Repair' in Auto Repair shop is a big misnomer. They should be more correctly called 'Auto Part Replacement Shop'.  There is no repair involved in the shop what so ever. They are all in a frenzy to change out what ever part comes close to your issue at hand. This applies to both Dealers and the franchise repair stores. Some local, independent and specialized repair shops are an exception to this.

To put things in perspective, lets say your fan (accessory) belt broke and you take your car to a repair shop. Trust me, if they had their way, they would even try to replace your engine for $$$$. Now they know that it might be a bit illegal and you might be wiser than that. So what would be their next best tactic be? - May be change out the water pump , alternator , replace coolant and charge you in the $1000s . Most belts cost only around $15 -$25 range so instead of paying a bill for $25 + Labor you would pay a huge bill. Note the 'labor' is the charge for the man-hour work done by the mechanic. These rates are typically fixed , for example around $40 to $50 an hour.

What I am trying to say is that you need to be extremely careful dealing with these repair shops. Some of the "Service Advisors" have sales goals to meet. Some even have dollar numbers written behind their counter like :- "Sales of atleast $500 per customer". So you walk in with a small issue and come out with a big repair bill. If that has been you in the past, give me a silent nod here :-) . Woman and women who appear single are treated in a different basket. They are the receivers of the maximum 'repair' bills ever known to man. The reasons are pretty obvious.

Now,  I am not against repair shops or the general attitude of replacing parts. Most mechanics and stores are a business and are out to make a honest living. Most times , it is cheaper to replace a part with a new or rebuilt one. For example - A bad starter motor, of course you buy the brushes and try to repair it. But a rebuilt starter motor with a warranty is just a few dollars extra. So it doesn't even make sense to 'repair' one , when you can buy a rebuilt one. My only problem is with the shops trying to sell you lots of services you will not need.

This is where a bit of homework and general car awareness , can come in extremely handy to keep your expenses low. There is this other thing with dealers doing warranty service. Since the cost is mostly paid by the manufacturer they are not keen to identify the root cause of a problem and are bent on changing a part over and over and over and over again. This will cause you time lost and give you headache. Another reason for them doing is this is that New model cars might have design issues and bugs that have not been documented in the TSB (service bulletin).  Such repairs might not be straight forward and would need a bit of diagnosis. An Internet search would be your best friend here. You could try to see if similar model owners a have identified that issue yet.