Avoiding Vehicle Repair Scams

Car maintenance is an essential part of owning a vehicle, but getting ripped off at the garage should not be. So, to ensure that you get an honest, fair deal from your mechanic, be aware of these 6 common vehicle repair scams and follow these 4 best practices:

Common Motor Vehicle Repair Scams

1. Misfuelling: Garages can quote thousands to flush the system after misfuelling (petrol in a diesel vehicle and vice versa) has occurred, but in actuality, it is generally a simple process. For petrol cars that have been filled with diesel, all that’s necessary is to drain the petrol and flush the system. However, if you fill your diesel car with petrol, this can be a more costly mistake.
2. Engine Flush: You will only need an engine flush if you’ve been driving the car for several years and notice a buildup of greasy material under the oil cap. If a mechanic says you need a flush because your oil is “dirty” he is probably lying!
3. Invalidating the warranty: Garages will claim that your warranty will become invalid if you use an independent garage. This isn’t the case if that independent garage still uses manufacturer standard parts.
4. Offering a free motor vehicle health check: Garages recommend unnecessary repairs—such as tyre changes, brake pad replacements and other minor repairs—after conducting a free inspection.
5. Recommending a more expensive, premium engine oil: Garages will recommend that motorists opt for the more expensive, premium engine oil. But, it may not be necessary, and you may not even notice a difference.
6. Claiming that additional repairs need to be done: Similar to the free health check scam, garages will recommend that motorists have additional work done on their car after the garage has finished basic maintenance.

Best Practices

1. Research different garages to ensure that they provide high-quality work and offer fair prices. Be sure to check review sites. In addition, you should verify that the garage is an industry-recognised garage and that they have signed up to the Motor Industry Codes of Practice (you can find one using the search facility on their website).
2. Ask for a written estimate before agreeing to any vehicle repairs, and consider a second opinion from a different garage. Make sure that the quote includes all parts, labour and VAT.
3. Verify that any new parts and workmanship come with a guarantee.
4. Keep a record of all the maintenance performed on your vehicle.

For further advice on motor vehicle and driver risk management, please contact your A-Plan branch