Since I have been mentioned specifically AGAIN …
Yes, the self-described adorableness is tongue-in-cheek (kinda like the perfectly-well-behaved children part) based on the humorous language that originated from the show and the Car Talk post.
The first step in defending yourself against being swindled is to recognize your vulnerability. Whether it is youth, societal stereotypes of gender, not being physically intimidating, the notion that cute and smart are mutually exclusive, lack of knowledge, or all of the above; the first step toward counteracting the characteristics that make you appear to be an easy target is recognizing that they exist.
It is fun to think of and discuss creative ways to disguise those characteristics, like Click and Clack’s suggestion that she wear a business suit to appear powerful. Those fun and easy fixes may send the shysters off looking for another victim.
The most challenging and time-consuming way to avoid being oversold is to become well-informed. We are putting in the effort to spend time here to become more well-informed about cars, not to become more well-informed about how ignorant and naive we are.
There is another way: finding a reputable place to do your business. Car Talk’s list, your local Better Business Bureau and word of mouth are all good ways to find a reputable shop. I am pleased with the places I go, that just so happen to be chains, because they have a certain way (procedure) they have to walk you through when they explain what you need, and they print it out for you (documentation) so that you know exactly what they recommend and how much it will cost, which also facilitates getting a second opinion (if they make it that easy for you to get a second opinion, they must have nothing to hide).
I think we are just looking for a few quick tips, maybe a top ten list… like “any -fill in the blank- before 30,000 is unnecessary” but like any subject, I suppose experts are loathe to over-simplify their craft.