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A Mechanics Secrets Revealed: The Untold Truth About Automotive Repairs

http://www.youfixcars.com/support-files/freeautorepairguide.pdf

Interesting download. Thanks for the tip.

I recommend induction service and the post-combustion byproduct elimination package.

Just wanted to say thanks for the links…I read the mechanics booklet and was saved over $2400.00 by asking three questions! Ended up taking the car to a different mechanic when the first one couldn’t tell me how he performed a few tests to determine what parts needed replacing! Thanks!

I teach maintenance and reliability workshops. The main message I have is for the students to become “equipment smart”. That is true of all equipment. That means knowing how and why things wear out and fail. The link certainly was a good step in becoming equipment smart.

Years ago a newspaper reporter who, by his own admisssion, was “car stupid”, got permission from his bosses to play stupid and do all the repairs and services “recommended” by the places he visited. The paper would pick up the tab.

It started with the horn which sometimes did not blow due to a poor contact. In the processs he had the front end rebuilt, the brakes done, TWO sets of shock absorbers installed, two wheel allignments, and many other unneeded things. All in a 2 month period. Total cost in today’s dollars was $4200!

The paper then published the whole thing with names, after consulting with their lawyers. A great exposure.

I once was told by a tire shop my car needed new front brake rotors, even though I had those changed 6 months earlier. I asked for a written quote signed by the manager. Then I told them they might have to appear in court as expert witnesses because the other shop 6 months ago might not have put new rotors in. The manager went very uptight since either he or the previous shop would turn out to be fraudsters.

I keep all recent bills with me and when I get this type of story, I pull out the bills and tell them either they or the shop that did the work are liers.

The less than honest shops that sell brake jobs, struts and shocks, etc. most often choose the routine jobs that involve common wear parts. Some years back, a female friend of mine took her car to a chain muffler shop because the muffler had blown out under the warranty period. She saw one of the service personnel squirt oil on two of the shock absorbers. The manager did not know that she saw this happen. The manager then informed her that her shocks were bad and should be replaced. My friend responded, “If the shock absorbers are bad, then why did your technician go to the trouble of oiling them?” That ended the conversation.
I think if you drive a really old car or some exotic car to an unscrupulous shop, you probably won’t be sold brake pads, shocks, etc. for parts that the shop doesn’t have in stock or can’t obtain conveniently. It is similar to the situation my wife and I encountered when we went to graduate school. We both had physical exams had all innoculations up to date. However, I had my exam and shots 2 weeks after my wife did. My wife received a notice from the health center that she was to have a booster shot to stay enrolled. When she arrived at the health center, there was a long line of students who had to have booster shots. Apparently, the health center had overstocked on serum and this was a way for the institution not to lose money.

Suze, what were the 3 questions?

Stories like this are why I’m very glad to have found a good mechanic. I don’t use him much because I prefer to do most stuff myself, but when I had the air conditioner completely redone on my 1993 MR2 last year, I had to spend about 5 minutes convincing the guy that I knew it was an old car, and I knew it was going to be expensive, and yes I did want to do it anyway because I’m restoring the thing. He really didn’t want me to spend the money on it until I explained that it’s a project car and I know I’m going to put more money into it than it’s worth blue-book.

@UsedEconobox2UsedBMW, I also read through the mechanics book and there’s lots of truth and good advice in it. Although I do most of my own work and the work on my wife’s and son’s cars, I want them to read it as well in case someday I’m not able or I’m not around to do it for them they don’t just allow someone to take advantage of them, because they don’t know any better. I’ve trained both my son and my wife to listen to their cars and if they hear a strange noise or it’s not running properly to let me know as soon as they are aware of it before it turns into something dangerous or more costly to repair. Then I can take the car for a test drive and listen for the noise or see how it’s running and get ideas of what to check or troubleshoot. Over 20 years ago I took my car in to have the tires rotated (free rotation) at a chain store while out of state on a trip to visit my parents. They tried to tell me my tie rod ends were worn out, what they didn’t know is I had just checked the front end a couple weeks prior and everything was OK. I told them not to replace them and ended up driving the car about another 100K miles and never did replace the tie rod ends. This was a quick easy repair they thought they could scare me into and make some money off of since I was 500 miles from home, but I didn’t take the bait.

  1. What test did you perform to determine that?
  2. ok, since no test was performed, how were you able to determine that is the problem?
  3. Will you show me the part you are talking about?

This thread may reveal a business opportunity for someone, in fact, there was such a business in the 1960s in the urban area where I reside. The business evaluated car condition in detail and they were impartial; had nothing to sell other than their evaluation. This was useful for people who wanted a second opinion for recommended repairs or wanted to have their car checked before an extended trip. Unfortunately, the business of evaluating cars failed as it is no longer here. I used it once to have my car checked to make sure that it was roadworthy before I felt confident to judge for myself. Such a business would be useful to check advice from potentially cheating or incapable auto mechanics. There seems to be no shortage of such people.

@Wha Who

There are many businesses that do impartial evaluations. My favorite mechanic does this frequently for people who either want a second opinion or they are contemplating buying a used car. He chargges about $100 or so for a complete car “health check”. If they want to use the service for a second opinion, he charges less and the amount will apply to any repairs he would make.

The AAA has a list of recommended garages in your area that deal with in evaluating a vehicle’s condition.

Right, the business already exists.
You can take a car to the dealer (or mechanic) for a PPI for $100 or so.