ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off By Your Local Mechanic

Updated on May 31, 2010

The world is filled with very smart people who happily and productively go through life without knowing the first thing about brake pads or fuel injectors. This naivety is not only limited to women, as many men also believe that there are hamsters running around on wheels inside their engine compartments making their cars go.

Mechanics are keenly aware of this. Many mechanics, in fact, count on your lack of expertise to fool you into thinking that your car needs more work than it really does. The only way to fight back is to learn a little bit about the most common auto ailments and what they require in terms of repair. We've isolated eight of them in this section to help you separate the necessary repairs from the frivolous ones. Armed with this information you should be better able to identify the scams you're most likely to encounter.


Did that ad for a $39.95 brake job catch your eye? Watch out. If the person at one of those places lets you out of the shop for $39, they won't be at work the next day. Their job is to get you to spend more.

An recent investigation by the New York attorney general's office, for instance, found that nine out of every 10 consumers paid more than three and a half times the advertised brake job price at brake shops. Once you're in the door, many mechanics will inflate the bill by convincing you that you need to rebuild or replace your brake calipers. Some paid considerably more than that. One New York State resident got stuck with a tab of $308.80 for a front-brake job. Brakes were advertised at the location for $69. Remember however that it's difficult, until you do a thorough inspection of the vehicle, to tell what a repair is going to cost.

Still, once you're in the door, many mechanics will inflate the bill by convincing you that you need to rebuild or replace your brake calipers which are the mechanical devices that squeeze the brake pads against the disc. But shelling out the extra $100 to $300 for a set of new calipers is often a waste of money. Calipers can typically last 100,000 miles or so. Protect yourself by demanding to see what's wrong with your calipers. If they aren't working properly, the mechanic should be able to show you how each of the four brake pads on either axle is wearing unevenly.

As for disc-brake rotors, another favorite target of car repairmen, they rarely need to be replaced early in a car's life span. First, second and even third brake jobs done, say, every 30,000 miles, often include a resurfacing of all discs, in which the shop smoothes them on a lathe. Generally, they need be replaced only if they have become warped, cracked or resurfaced so often that their thickness has been shaved below the manufacturer's specifications. If you're dubious, ask to see the damage or how far below the manufacturer's specs the disc has worn.

Continued In How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off By Your Local Mechanic Part 2


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I can tell you that this is very true as I am a mechanic. I work with guys like this and watch them do it on a daily basis. Management turns a blind eye because its money in the pocket. I don't think most shops/garages consider the lifetime value of a customer.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      wha?? No hamsters?

      Maybe gerbils? A Nutruia?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)