Getting your car fixed is never fun, and it’s not cheap.
“I think most people think of auto repairs as this frustrating experience and most of the shops are looking to rip you off,” said Kevin Brasler with Puget Sound Consumer Checkbook.
Brasler said it doesn’t always have to be that way, you just need to know the right questions to ask.
“The good ones really try and make sure the customers understand what’s going on,” said Brasler.
He said to seek out shops that will let you deal directly with the mechanic.
“It’s just a lot easier to communicate directly with a mechanic, have the back and forth, they may have advice for you in terms of things you should be doing better to take care of your car, said Brasler.”
Don’t assume the dealership is always the best option for repairs.
“Independent shops have access to the same software, the same tools, the same training that the dealers do. The big difference is that they’re able to do the same types of repairs for less money,” said Brasler.
If you want to use a dealer. Shop around. Consumer Checkbook found dealership rates for major car repairs varied greatly around the Puget Sound. Chevrolet for $116 to $140/per hour, Chrysler $109 to $150/per hour and Ford $92 to $160/per hour.
However, you should always use the dealer for warranty work.
“If your car is under warranty, yeah it still makes sense to take it to the dealer because you’ll get the repair done for free probably. But once you’re out of warranty, there’s really little reason to keep taking your car back to the dealer,” said Brasler.