How to Not Get Cheated by Your Mechanic

How to Not Get Cheated by Your Mechanic

You own a car? It will get rugged in due time, wear and tear out and you’ll have to have it checked up from time to time. Here are a few ways you can avoid getting cheated by your mechanic.

I.  Ask him to show old parts if you’re having them replaced. In case your mechanic is replacing and has to buy the new parts, ensure by clear and strict instructions that he will have to show you the new parts before installation in your vehicle. It’s easy to get ripped off here, as your mechanic will almost certainly replace your broken part with another broken or used part and charge your for a brand new one.


II. Do not let the Mechanic deal with an issue you didn’t come to him for. That classic line “Oh yeah I found your timing belt outta line and seemed to have wear and tear with cracks, which was making all that noise, and that shaft is about to break outta rust, so I need to replace that immediately”. You hear this, you ask him to stop right there, and have him concentrate only on the issue you came there for. This is almost a sure shot way to not get cheated by the mechanic. All the other shaft work and belt work can be done if later and at the right time when needed.

Oh yeah I found your timing belt outta line and seemed to have wear and tear with cracks, which was making all that noise, and that shaft is about to break outta rust, so I need to replace that immediately

III. Do not fall into his ‘brand’ and ‘quality’ talks about your spare parts. It can be his probable attempt to lure you into a lot more expensive part replacement than needed, or perhaps even those parts that don’t really need to be in your car. Like for instance, buying Brake pads from XYZ brand while you could pretty much certainly do with the standard fitment that came with your vehicle. They’d go “See, your car pads seem to be wearing out faster, perhaps coz of your usage of the vehicle, so Imma change your pads and replace them with XYZ brand and you’re gonna be a lot happier driving this”. Again, avoid.


IV. You don’t have to entertain him to flush your engine oil and top it off again. Remember you didn’t come to the garage for a top-up. Your mechanic might just open the hood, pull out the oil stick and say, “you’ve got real bad oil”. If you’ve not been careful about your last top-up time it’s time to get ripped off. He will now flush your oil tanks completely, and waste all of that still usable oil in your system and top it off with a brand that would raise your bill up by about Rs 4,000 easily. What do you do now? Well, the oil is in the vehicle, the bill is raised. Now you pay! To make sure this doesn’t happen, instruct your mechanic, to just concentrate on the job you asked him to fix.


V. If your mechanic uses words like “its complicated, you won’t understand” you should pretty much know you’re being taken for a rip-ride and mostly getting cheated by your mechanic. Ofcourse, the dynamics and mechanics of vehicles are highly technical, specific and scientific. It’s physics that drives your vehicles and the systems our vehicles use today can’t be understood by majority of the consumer population. Most of you won’t know what’s under the hood of that Toyota Fortuner you’ve owned since 7 years. Most of you wont be able to name or identify the parts the mechanic points to. If he realized that you don’t know what’s under the hood, you’re in for what shouldn’t be. His alibi would just be “its complicated, you won’t understand” and he’s gonna get right by you. In case this happens, question your mechanic repeatedly. Then try to use your general knowledge and common sense, or call up a friend with technical know-hows and figure out the relation between the work needed to be fixed and the new problem being pointed out by the mechanic. If you understand they are irrelevant, follow above-mentioned points.

You’ve got bad oil

It’s complicated, you won’t understand

VI. All, Full, Entire, Whole”  You hear these, get alert. When you roll into the garage hearing a small rattle under the car, or creeking noises or some other unnatural sounds, the mechanic might come back telling you geek mumbojumbo like your catalytic converter is shot, that your muffler is rusted, and that the exhaust pipes have holes in them that basically freak you out completely. When you hear words like “all,” “entire,” “full,” or “whole,” you should head to another garage and double-check. Two opinions about the system will be accurate for your mental peace and to make you feel you did what it took to not get cheated by your mechanic.


VII. I wouldn’t drive this car anywhere until it has been fixed. Your mechanic can say this to scare you into leaving your car right at his garage. Once the car is opened up, you’re pretty much in his hands. Well, you drove the car into his garage you can also drive out. Figure out the problem at hand, if you’re confused drive it out to another garage. If you understand that the mechanic can fix it, have him repair it and keep in mind the points above.


VIII. The Repair takes forever. If the repairs are taking forever, you know you’re being ripped off. The Mechanic is probably using your car for his own personal use. The excuses raised would mostly be about shortage of labour, of unavailability of spare parts. If that happens, you have the right to ask the Mechanic to put the car back together in the state you got it into the garage, make no payments, and get another mechanic. You won’t get cheated for sure.


Once you get the right mechanic, make sure you treat him with respect, pay him on time, invite him for your functions, pay him ‘just visiting’ visits, drop in hellos and keep him happy. You’ll rarely be ever cheated.



Written by Aru Raghuvanshi

Aru Raghuvanshi