Most responsible car owners want to make their vehicles last as long as possible and be safe to drive. That means regular maintenance that can be time consuming and costly. That’s why so many of us turn to shops that can get it done in a hurry, for a reasonable price. But some of those shops are more concerned about your wallet than your vehicle and are more likely to scam you than to give you what you came in for in the first place.
Oil Change Speciality Shops
Almost any mechanic shop can and will do an oil change, but because they may not buy those materials in bulk, they aren’t able to offer the same rates as specialty shops that advertise their services for what seems to be an unbelievably low fee. It makes sense, but at the same time, it pays to keep in mind the old adage “You get what you pay for” and shop around for a mechanic you can rely on.
Like the people in the video, you might go in for a $20 oil change and come out having spent a couple hundred dollars. Why? Because the upsells combined with the lies not only lead you to spend more, but can also cause you mechanical problems in the future.
Before your car even gets in the bay, you might be pushed to buy a more expensive package under the premise that the oil used in the $20 package is of less than stellar quality. One might pause to ask why it’s offered or used at all if it isn’t of good quality. But, it’s only a few dollars, right? Sure, until you hit the other upsells.
Some of the most common upsells involve telling you that one of your fluids is brown or black and smells burnt. This can involve anything from power steering fluid to a full transmission flush. The truth is that many of these shops will tell you and every other customer that walks in the doors just about the same thing, whether it’s true or not.
Since you want what’s best for your car and you know that prevention is better than a breakdown, you and almost every other car owner are likely to at least be tempted by the upsells. Now for the real kicker.
In many cases, the extra services offered aren’t even performed after you pay for them.
Avoid the Scam
Now that you’re aware of the scam, how can you avoid it? After all, you still at least need your oil changed on a regular basis. The tips below will help prevent you from being the next oil change scam victim.
Record before you go. If need be, take a picture of the fluid levels and the colors of the fluids in your vehicle. This won’t prevent anyone from trying to scam you, but it does help you get an idea of which shops you can trust and which ones you can’t after it’s all said and done and you compare what they said with the information you have on hand.
Assess the sitting room. If there is an area where you can sit and wait for the services to be done, how far is it from the service desk? The further it is, and the less room there is to sit, the less they want you to overhear. After you hear the third or fourth customer come through with burnt fluids, you might start to catch on that it’s a scam.
Stick to your guns. If you only came in for an oil change, then that’s exactly what you should get. And if the $20 deal is what you were after, then don’t budge on that either. Yes, there is a difference in the qualities of motor oil offered, but they all essentially do the same thing and the shops have to use the oil weight listed for your vehicle. If you’re going in for regular oil changes, the brand shouldn’t be an issue. For more in-depth services, visit a mechanic you can trust.