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Daily Q&A: Do you have any tips for avoiding shady car mechanics?

What tips do you have to avoid being taken when getting a car repaired?

Car repairs can be tricky. Find a good, honest mechanic and keep the person for life. Land a bad one and you could see your pockets emptied and your car worse off then when you took it to get fixed.

I found these suggestions helpful from Barbara Terry (, author of the new book "How Athletes Roll" (Comfort Publishing, 2010), which showcases athletes and the cars they drive:

• Educate yourself. The more you know about your car and the repairs, the better off you will be. Knowledge is power. Get to know your vehicle, so that you are familiar with it and the owner's manual, which will come in handy in understanding basic maintenance needs. You can also Google questions about car repairs and maintenance, so you are well-prepared before walking into the shop.

• Follow reputations. Ask around, so you can find a mechanic that has a good reputation. Getting recommendations may help you keep from setting foot in a shady establishment to begin with.

• Ask around. If you are told you need costly repairs, seek a second opinion. Ask for a written estimate and use the information to get several other repair estimates either by phone or in person. If possible, have a male friend call around and ask what each place would charge for such a repair.

• Keep maintained. Keep current on your vehicle maintenance, as per your owner's manual; this will help to minimize the repairs that may be necessary.

• Verify service. Ask the mechanic to show you the part that needs replacing. Also, ask to see it, and the new part, once the work has been completed.

• Speak up. If you feel you have been mistreated, overcharged, or otherwise not treated fairly, put in a complaint. You can ask to speak to the manager, write the company headquarters in many cases, and file a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau.

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Daily Q&A: Do you have any tips for avoiding shady car mechanics? 08/25/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 10:42am]
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