Car Repair Bills, Are they always fair?

Have you encountered a situation with your car where every service center is asking for different repair charges? Why can’t everything be the same price?

Actually, every car technician has a different level of skills, attitude, dedication, and expertise when it comes to car repairing. Thus, his or her valuation for the same car repair varies. A mechanic may replace a broken part rather than repairing it if the job can then be guaranteed, increasing the cost. An inexperienced car technician may replace two or three parts to fix a problem when a single part can do the work.

Not many people will confess but when it comes to car repairs every one of us encounter this situation. A dollar or two here and there is fine but what about the differences in the multiples of hundreds. Going with the best price is fine, but what if it is compromising on safety and quality to reduce costs. There is lot to think about.

In this blog post, I have included a few points to help you decide whether you’re over paying or not.

Labour Charges

Labour Charges are probably the most volatile figures you’ll encounter in the car repair market, varying substantially everywhere. A labour price has to cover a lot of things in a repair business. This includes rent, insurance, superannuation, work cover, electricity, water rates, tools and equipment, workshop consumables like cleaning products, waste disposal, tax compliance and administration to name but a few. There is also the value the mechanic puts on their expertise and knowledge.

Time for repair:

In this modern age, expectations of how long things should take to be done are often skewed. We all lead busy lives and when we rely on our cars it is a big inconvenience for us to have it in for repair. A service centre that gets things done same day can be more expensive as often they pay for things like extra freight charges to get parts in quickly. They may also dedicate two people to a job to get it done more quickly.

When putting your car for services, make it clear when you can collect. If you have planned a trip on the day of taking your car out of services, consider postponing it or be ready with Plan-B as delays, of a few hours to next day, are common in car repairs.

Parts Condition and Prices

The cost of car parts varies for all makes and models. You can get genuine parts, aftermarket parts, remanufactured parts and second hand parts. There are some situations where genuine parts are the most cost effective and some situations where aftermarket parts are a better alternative. The quality of the part required is a big consideration here, but also the convenience and speed of getting the part. Sometimes a genuine part may take 2 -3 weeks to source from the manufacturer overseas. Obviously, if an aftermarket part is available, then it makes more sense to use it.

Sometimes the cost of a replacement part is too much to replace. For example a component like a steering rack can be remanufactured or rebuilt for a fraction of the price of buying a new unit from the dealer.

There are many aftermarket manufacturers who can produce parts at a lot cheaper price than genuine. However, a vehicle manufacturer puts more effort into research and development so their products are usually of a much better build quality. If you can afford it, genuine quality parts will give you a better standard of repair in most cases. Having said that most people are happy to go with an aftermarket part if the product is made by a reputable manufacturer who guarantees their product.

There are also times where the only available option is a second hand option. Clearly a second hand part can never be guaranteed as long as a new one so use them with caution.

Quality of Repair

Human factors such as experience and knowledge are very valuable when it comes to car repairs. It is often the little things that experienced mechanics know to do that make the difference in a good quality repair. This is often why some mechanics quote more time to complete a repair than others. While you may be driving in for one item, there are often other components in a repair that need to be checked or replaced when a vehicle is dismantled. An experienced mechanic knows this and will quote accordingly. Be wary of very cheap quotes as it is often a sign that quality is going to be compromised and there is nothing worse than having to take a car back in a second time for something that could have been done the first time.


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