Car Repair Shops – What Are They Charging Us For?

Car repair shops, service centers, and auto dealerships work very hard to make a profit from us. These days, especially in regards to car maintenance, they have to work harder and smarter. Today’s cars simply do not need what the cars of old did.

Think about it. Do we need to repack and adjust wheel bearings, replace distributor caps, rotors, ignition wires, pcv valves, or breather elements? Do we have to grease front ends, adjust brakes, and replace coolant and transmission fluid at frequent intervals? For most cars, the answer is no. So what are car repair shops charging us for?

Despite the auto repair industry’s attempts to promote vehicle maintenance, few car repair customers actually follow manufacturer guidelines. Everyone, however, knows to get the oil changed. It’s this fact that car repair shops are using to charge us for all kinds of things, needed or not. Because there is very little profit margin in an oil change, repair shops will look our cars over for additional work. This is called upselling.

This look over is often marketed as a “Free 28-Point Inspection,” or, “Complimentary Safety Check.” While this is not necessarily bad, I mean I would like to know if one of my tires was wearing badly, or if a front-end component was loose, it’s rare these are an issue without me noticing something that I would have had investigated (e.g. a vibration or noise).

Instead, auto repair shops are upselling and charging us for very high-profit-margin services that generally have very low benefit to us.

Some examples of these upsold services and products are: tire rotations, wiper blades, fuel additives, fuel injection services, coolant flushes, transmission flushes, air filters, dust filters, winterizing, and summer check ups. While any given car may actually need a few of these services, most simply don’t. These services turn that $30 oil change into $90, $219, $378. Again, they’re quick and high profit. Check out auto maintenance for a more in depth discussion on these and other services.

Car Repair Help Tip: When we’re being offered additional services from car repair shops, let’s make sure we understand the actual need and benefit to us.

By Ted


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