Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back In the Driver's Seat!

Okay, it's been way too long since my last post...but putting your house on the market, selling it and moving can take up your time so easily! Now that I'm all settled in, it's time to get back to giving you what you want, some good advice.

I'll start with a story about yet another woman agreeing to work she probably didn't need. For those of you who live in states where you have to get your vehicle inspected yearly, you know that this can sometimes be a hassle. We take our vehicle in and then we feel like we're at the mercy of the technician to have it pass inspection.

Let me start by saying that if you feel that work they recommend to pass inspection seems unwarranted, you do have recourse. First, ask them to show you the items that are bad, preferably on the vehicle. If they come out with a part in their hand, you don't know where it came from. If what they are describing doesn't seem right to you then ask more questions or call someone you know to help you make your decision.

If you feel you're being taken, you can contact your state DMV and ask that a representative come and look at the failable item and tell you if it truly is bad. Most people don't know that they have this option. I've heard of shops backing down when the customer wants to call in a representative because they know they're wrong.

Any good shop should be willing to show and explain why the part has failed and help you understand this. Not all shops are just trying to rip you off, but it's good to know that there is someone you can call if you need to. Don't feel like you have to replace a part if you don't think it's bad.

So back to my story. This woman takes her vehicle in and gets a call later telling her that she passed both State inspection and emissions but while doing a 33 point inspection they found some items that need to be addressed.

The oil change, air filter, coolant being low are all things that are regular maintenance items. Depending on when you did them last, it may be time to have these serviced. Now she's fortunate to have a son who can do this work so she declined. Some other things she agreed to. Rotation of the tires, balancing 2 of the tires and clean and adjust the brakes.

Here's where I tend to question work. It said that they removed all the wheels to check the brakes for inspection, so to simply rotate them while they're off is often a courtesy, she was charged $10. Another $15 to balance. Then there's the brake clean and adjust. My thought is that if they didn't fail inspection, which being out of adjustment can make you fail....why are they charging for this service? Another $14 for this. I'd love to know what they really did.

I'm not saying that all shops are looking for ways to make you spend money, but beware of shops that you don't know very well that try to sell you what I call "busy work", because it may be slow. We have to get our vehicles inspected, but try to have an idea of what else may need to be done before you take it in so you don't agree to unnecessary repairs.

Remember, knowledge is power....use it!


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