There are plenty of stereotypes surrounding women bringing their cars to a mechanic, only to get taken advantage of. Unfortunately, that stereotype is true for many women. Maybe you’ve brought your car in with a minor problem and were told it was something more. Maybe your lack of knowledge about car maintenance has allowed you to get “scammed” in the past.
Although it’s unfortunate, it’s not unheard of for even reputable mechanics and companies to use tactics that will end up making them more money.
So, what can you do to confidently get work done on your car without being “taken for a ride?” How can you decipher whether a mechanic is telling the truth or trying to get you to spend more on a minor issue?
It starts with empowerment.
Keep Your Car Well-Maintained
One of the best things you can do is to take your car to a mechanic you trust for regular maintenance. You don’t have to wait until there’s a problem with your vehicle to get it worked on. The last thing you want is for your car to break down when you’re driving alone. That could lead to a dangerous situation. So, practice preventive measures and keep your car in top shape by routinely getting it serviced.
Some of the most common car maintenance services include:
- Oil changes
- Oil filter replacements
- Battery replacements
- Coolant system services
- Brake services
- Tire rotations/replacements
While regular maintenance is important, you might not always need to take your car into an auto shop for routine services if you know how to do certain things yourself. Talk to a trusted family member or friends about different DIY services you can do on your car. Some of the most common include changing your oil, rotating tires, and flushing brake fluid. It can take some time to learn how to do these things, but with the right instruction and practice, you can save money at the shop and know you’re getting the job done right by doing it yourself.
Do Your Research
We live in a digital age where it’s easier than ever to research businesses and services before trying them out. You might regularly look at restaurant reviews or learn more about a healthcare professional before making an appointment.
You can do the same before going to a mechanic.
Research shows that 75% of women feel more confident when they’ve done their research before going to a service shop. If you’re not sure what to look for, a good place to start is online reviews. What are other people saying about specific service shops? You can go one step further by looking specifically at reviews from women.
Another good rule of thumb is to check if a particular shop is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. If so, they will have a rating/grade that can often be a good indicator of the work they do and the customer service they provide.
While researching a business ahead of time might not ensure you have a perfect experience, it can help to weed out those who have a reputation for taking advantage of their customers.
Know How to “Talk Shop”
In addition to learning how to maintain your car, you can also educate yourself on some of the tell-tale signs that something is wrong. There are some mechanics out there who might try to convince you to fix your car when you would be better off trading it in for something new. When you start to put more money into your vehicle than it’s worth, that’s a problem.
If you want to know whether to fix your car or buy a new one, keep a few factors in mind, including:
- Your car’s worth and the cost of repairing it
- Your budget or current financial situation
- Assurance that a repair will fix the problem
- Your needs
If a mechanic is trying to tell you everything that needs to be repaired on your car, and you know it will end up costing more than buying something new, that’ll make your decision easier. The more you educate yourself on the average cost of repairs and research new vehicles, the more you’ll be able to speak with confidence. Any mechanic who may want to take advantage of you is likely to back off when they recognize you know what you’re talking about.
Unfortunately, the stereotype of women being duped by mechanics still happens. While not every auto shop is out to get you, it’s important to empower yourself as much as possible to ensure you don’t get scammed.
Educate yourself as much as possible, feel good about DIY-ing whatever you can, and do your research when it comes to mechanics in your area. A little bit of leg work can go a long way in helping you feel more confident about your car’s maintenance issues.
Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.