A few weeks ago I took my car in to a local auto shop. It’s a place that offers really cheap oil changes and inspections and it’s convenient to my apartment, so it generally works out pretty well.
Except… because they offer such cheap services to get us in the door, it’s not at all unusual for them to tell me that the sky is falling and something major has to be fixed.
This month I needed to get my inspection sticker taken care of and I figured they certainly wouldn’t fail it without cause – they’d probably just give me a list of work that “needed” to be done and I’d be on my way.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case this time. This time they failed the car because there was too much give in the parking brake (a piece of equipment on my car that I use exactly never). They told me it would be a $750 repair and then suggested some other repairs to go along with it that “really need to be done” even though they wouldn’t count against the inspection.
After hyperventilating for several minutes I got my head together. I called the guy who I go to when I need actual work done on the car – I trust him completely and he does good work. When I asked him if $750 was a reasonable price for the repair they were suggesting he said yes…BUT. Only if the entire parking brake system needed to be switched out. He would check it and only do what was necessary.
Today he did the repairs on my car – and guess what?!? That $750 turned out to be a $75 cable and $70 in labor. He found one other thing that needed to be fixed for the inspection (which the other guys hadn’t mentioned) and I asked him to also replace the battery because it’s died several times recently.
The total price tag? $655.25. That’s $100 LESS than the other guys said for THREE TIMES MORE work!!!
My lesson for the week – a second opinion is ALWAYS a good idea!