It was a hard first lesson. My relatively new car was screaming for a repair every time I began to press the brake pedal. With a SUV just reaching its first birthday on a 4 year warranty with dealer maintenance included, I naturally ended up back at the dealer thinking that whatever shrill I was hearing would likely be covered. The next call was from the dealer service advisor telling me how much it would cost to replace brake pads and one rotor. The amount sounded astounding over the phone as much as the fact that even thought the SUV was almost a year old, I thought of it as new and thinking anything wrong would be covered.
I authorized the amount for the brake repair which seemed high over the phone after learning how much of my car was not covered by any warranty and since my car was already there and I was about to leave town, I just said ‘yes’ the the high price. You know that sucker moment and it does indeed suck. Later out of curiosity, I called just one other repair shop and learned that I paid more than double by having the work done at my place I bought my car.
It was the last time I took my car to a dealer thinking I would get favorable pricing. And now, there are the most incredibly powerful free tools from the tech world I only wished I had tapped then to save money. These are the car repair winners when it comes to shopping around car repairs the next time a ping, rattle or pure silence from your car hits your world.
CAR REPAIR WINNERS
YourMechanic – free app for IOS, Android and website – http://www.yourmechanic.com let’s you shop around your auto ailment to nearby mechanics who bid for your business. You put in what’s wrong from 150 plus different mechanical problems, they give you and estimate, and then you choose from various insured mechanics who come to you to get the job done. Each repair comes with a 12month or 12,000 mile guarantee.
TIP: An important thing to consider is that these mechanics should come with everything they need, but will not work on your car if its parked on a public street.
RepairPal – free app for IOS, Android and website – http://www.repairpal.com – There is a reputable shop nearby that wants to fix your car. RepairPal connects you with the nearby repair shops so that you can compare an estimate in your area. Some complain that the prices are a little higher than they are able to find on their own, but for the most part are happy to trade a slight margin on cost for someone who is going to do a job right and within a reasonable albeit not cheapest price.
TIP: Pay slightly more, but convenient and fair
OpenBay – free app for IOS – https://www.openbay.com This app that shops around for the best car repair. You can select from quotes that start coming in a few minutes from filling out an estimate request.
TIP: Repair shops are categorized by price, quality and other needs such as if a loaner car is available or if the garage has wifi while you wait for your car to get fixed.
SaferCar – free app for IOS, Android and website – http://www.safecar.gov – You search for your year, make and model car and this database will tell you if a free repair is awaiting your car from official government recalls including infant car seats.
TIP: All recall work should be performed by an authorized dealer even if a repair shop says it can do the same work. Use the dealer to save the hassle of any issues about recall repair work coming into question.
That last one would have saved me from one more sucker move when I had something repaired outside of the dealer having no idea that the issue was part of a dealer-covered recall repair.