Car repair scams

Is my mechanic ripping me off? 

Mechanics are among the types of professionals we like to deal with the least, right up there with dentists and telemarketers. Most mechanics are honest, but whats being done to clamp down on Dodgy mechanics? Here is our top tips to keep you out of Unfair Debt!

If a mechanic wants to rip you off, they usually go for one of the following options…


How many times have you been to a mechanic who fixed something, but it didn’t actually fix the problem? So you had to go back and have something else repaired, which actually fixed the problem. This scenario could be completely genuine, because sometimes there are a few different causes for one problem, but a good mechanic in Brisbane should have a pretty good idea of the cause and not give you the run-around.


For example, if a part should be replaced at 100,000km, some mechanics will start recommending replacements at 70,000km. This is also commonplace at roadside assistance operations where staff are incentivised to sell parts, like batteries. These guys will often replace any batteries that are over two years old (even though the normal life cycle is three to four years) regardless of whether the problem was actually the battery or it just needed  recharge.


If you’re wondering – “is my mechanic ripping me off?” – here’s where things get really dodgy.  There are some mechanics who will create repairs out of thin air in order to upsell you.
Worse still,
because there wasn’t a problem in the first place, they don’t actually do any work for the extra charge. For example, the mechanic will spray WD40 on your suspension struts. They’ll then bring you in to show you that you have an oil leak and the suspension struts need replacing. You authorise the work, they then go ahead and clean up the WD40 and paint the suspension struts black. When you return they show you your new shiny suspension struts with no oil leak.
That will be $1,200, thank you!


With thousands of mechanics, workshops and dealerships, the automotive repair industry is super competitive.
One of the most common tricks to get customers in the door is to advertise a cheap service. They lure in first-time customers with a bargain headline rate for a service, as low as $99. While this may sound appealing, the problem is that the mechanic just isn’t making any money. With the cost of parts, plus their business overheads, they’re not paying themselves. To counter this they’ll upsell you a bunch of things you don’t need. The strategy is to get you in the door and then bump up the bill.


The thought of questioning your mechanic can be a little scary— the prospect of speaking to a mechanic in greasy overalls using complex car language is daunting enough, let alone questioning what they’re telling you. Sometimes it’s easier to stick your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away.
But if you follow a few simple rules you can quickly gure out whether or not you’re getting ripped off…     
    Do your homework: Check out our blog on When you should Your Car Serviced?
Stick to your maintenance schedule
Avoid cheap services, $120 is cheap, $180 is average
Get everything in writing
Keep Records, your logbook, a maintenance journal and keep track in your calendar of what’s due and when
Know your car
Check your brake lights
Ask questions and ask for your old parts back
Get a second opinion

Publisher: Mechanics At Work
Date Published: Sep 7 2017 12:20PM
Date Edited: Oct 26 2017 12:30PM