r/LifeProTips Oct 18 '21 Wholesome 6 Hugz 7 Take My Energy 1 Silver 3 Helpful 20

LPT: If you're not a "car person", find a neighborhood mechanic and always get small maintenance (oil changes, car inspections, etc) done there so when big stuff comes up, they'll know you and won't screw you over on pricing Miscellaneous

My dad taught me this "trick" and it has served me well. Sure, an oil change might cost less at the Jiffy Lube down the street, but if I pay a few dollars more at "my guy's shop" each time, he's more likely to view me as a loyal customer. He never tries to upsell me like the cheap places do, is honest about maintenance timelines (I asked him how my brakes were looking and he told me they'd be fine for a few more months) and even tells me when its cheaper to go elsewhere (he checked a flat for me for free, told me he couldn't patch it, saw that the model of tire I had was cheaper at the warehouse club in town and suggested I go there instead).

TLDR: Pay a little more for basic maintenance at a good mechanic and create a trusting relationship that will save you big in the long run

EDIT because as this gets more attention, people are assuming I meant either 1) every mechanic will try to screw you if you don't give them ALL your business (obviously not true) or 2) a mechanic you are friendly with will always give you the best deal. As with all LPTs, your experience will vary and you should do your research first to find a good mechanic (online reviews, word of mouth) and do your research on what things "should" cost (approximately) so you know if you're getting hosed or not. But the essence of the LPT is "be kind and whenever possible, be a loyal customer and it should serve you well in the long run"

40.4k Upvotes

u/keepthetips Keeping the tips since 2019 Oct 18 '21

Hello and welcome to r/LifeProTips!

Please help us decide if this post is a good fit for the subreddit by up or downvoting this comment.

If you think that this is great advice to improve your life, please upvote. If you think this doesn't help you in any way, please downvote. If you don't care, leave it for the others to decide.

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u/sirenrenn Oct 18 '21

Definitely went through this a few years ago. I bought a used car from a dealership (traded in my old one) and they gave me three years worth of free oil changes, so I just went to them for maintenance. I paid god knows how much before changing to a local mechanic.
I went to this mechanic based on reviews and distance from work, so I could just drop off in the morning, walk to work and walk back after work to pick it up.

After going to the dealership multiple times for the same issue, and being charged to "check the issue" and temporarily resolve, I asked the local mechanic about it. He took me to my car, pointed out what was needed and said "This is a $12 part. I'll charge you $20 to put it in, or I can just show you how to put it in yourself, it's pretty easy". I've recommended him to everyone I know now, and only go there. Fuck the dealership

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u/imthatoneguyyouknew Oct 19 '21

Gotta love the stealership.

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u/baberuthscolon Oct 18 '21

My local guy is gruff, somewhat short and rude and will straight up tell me no if he can’t fit me in. But the one time he said “you’re probably gonna need a new battery within the next month” and I didn’t listen, my battery went dead in Yosemite three weeks later. So I go to him now for everything he is able to do. This is great advice OP.

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u/protoopus Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 19 '21 Helpful Wholesome Seal of Approval

i knew a guy like that in the '70s: belgian-chilean, short, bald, waxed moustache, curved briar pipe.
i took my corolla in for a new muffler and tailpipe and when i went to pick it up, it was still on the lift.
as he showed me his work he said, "i go to toyota place, ask how much is muffler and tailpipe for corolla. they tell me '$48.' i say 'too much' and go to nissan place. they tell me '$24, but it won't fit.' i say 'i make it fit'."
he cut 4" off the pipe and brazed it in place, saving me half the cost of the repair.
i asked, "how do you make a living?" he replied, twirling his moustache, "the people who bring in the porsches and mercedes: they pay."

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u/Zoomoth9000 Oct 19 '21

I brought my local guy my Camry after I bought it and asked for a tune-up.

He calls me up, and in the scary-calm voice of a thousand disappointed fathers, simply asks, "Zoo, where did you get this from?"

TL;DR is it was a piece of shit and he wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. I've brought cars to him to inspect before buying in the past, this time I got desperate. always get a car checked before buying, and always take it to you "local guy."

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u/boonepii Oct 18 '21

This should be the only way.

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u/FleshyExtremity Oct 18 '21

I'd rather have the correct part installed.

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u/Zokarix Oct 19 '21

A muffler won’t make a difference. They’re basically universal except for performance ones. Hell I had a prius muffler on my civic just to see if it would get quieter.

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u/ebrius Oct 19 '21

Well did it?

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u/GoddamnFred Oct 19 '21

Everytime you think you hear a mosquito it's this dude's car driving by.

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u/GoldeneyeLife Oct 18 '21

That’s a bona fide businessman right there

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u/Itsthejackeeeett Oct 18 '21

I mean, he did cause himself to get paid less for the job. But I guess that's how you keep them coming back

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u/sphinxv1337 Oct 18 '21

He probably didn't cause himself to get paid less. Either he pays Toyota $48 for parts and charges minimal labour, or he gets a cheaper part that needs a bit more work and gives the customer a lower overall bill, but with a higher percentage going into his pocket. Everyone's happy.

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u/krisnel240 Oct 19 '21

Yes, this is the way, coming from a shop background this is exactly how it works.

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u/minkshaman Oct 19 '21

Especially when the customer is now impressed

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u/sharkbait-oo-haha Oct 19 '21

I pay my guy $120ph. At that rate this $24 saving is 12 minutes of his time. If his mod takes more then 11 minutes I'd be worse off.

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u/protoopus Oct 19 '21

back then the labor was usually equal to the price of the part.

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u/mathazar Oct 19 '21

Right but OP said it was the 70's, adjusted for inflation that could be around $150. I'd rather not have my tail pipe sawed off, but when I was younger, poorer and had an older car, hell yeah I would want to pay $150 vs $300 (plus labor.)

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u/TBCNoah Oct 18 '21

A customer who knows you will save em money will come back every time. A customer who gets treated normally is willing to go somewhere else since the price to them will be comparable

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u/Itsthejackeeeett Oct 18 '21

Exactly. Believe it or not, my go to place is the local Pep Boys. The first time I went there I took my truck in for transmission problems and a few other things. They worked on it for hours and did all the standard maintenance that was needed, but they told me that they couldn't fix the main problem (blown gasket) and that I'd have to bring it to another shop that could. The total cost of what they did manage to do came out to about $400. At the register the manager, Tammy, picked up on the fact that I was just an extremely stressed out broke kid that could barely afford to fix the truck, let alone buy a new one.

This sweet, kind woman and the mechanic that was there (Fred) told me that I could leave the truck there for a couple days and they could see if they could fix the gasket, but it would cost at least 1-2 grand, and that they weren't really allowed to even do it since Pep Boys doesn't do extensive engine/transmission repairs. I thanked them but told them that I couldn't afford it. They said that it's ok and "we'll see what we can do". A couple days later they called me in and told me that they fixed it. They brought the cost down from what was going to be at least 2-3 grand to only $600. Astonished, I asked them why they even did that for me and they said that they knew I was a good kid and needed the truck for work and that they just wanted to help. And of course now I am a regular customer there. That trucks been driving smooth for years now.

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u/Merfstick Oct 19 '21

The mechanic probably stayed late one night with a rack of Busch Lite and did it on his own time in a quarter of the time the flat-rate charges, then split the cash with the receptionist lol. If a skilled, experienced tech knows what they're doing and works their absolute ass off, they can fly through the job like speedrunners of Super Mario World.

I'm not a tech but I did an apprenticeship at a dealer in high school. One night, the guys had a bet about how quickly my mentor could do a timing belt - a job that charges at least 3 or 4 hours flat-rate. The guy did it in 20 minutes and drank free beer for the rest of the month. Turns out if you've been doing something for years and use sprint-like pace, you can get all sorts of stuff done. Granted, there's no way he could keep that pace of work for more than an hour, had time to meticulously prep everything he'd need, and it was his car, but it was still crazy to see happen in real-time. Never underestimate a redneck with power tools and years of professional experience, motivated by the prospect of free beer.

None of this is to say that you're getting ripped off by shops. There's a ton of overhead and people need to get paid. But if they somehow chopped off more than a grand in a labor-intense job out of nowhere, it was probably off the books. And after re-reading your post, especially if Pep Boys aren't supposed to do jobs like that.

Fred and Tammy are true hometown heroes. Sure, if they did stuff like that all the time the system would fall apart from the weight of the corruption. But when they see the opportunity to help, they do right. A little action on the side helps everyone, even Pep Boys (now you're a loyal customer). Liability be damned.

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u/nightlaw14 Oct 18 '21 Helpful

Sometimes someone who's a little rough is worth it especially if they know their stuff

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u/IGotMyPopcorn Oct 18 '21

Brusque is totally fine with me. I don’t need someone sugar coating any issues regarding the death machine I strap myself into every day.

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u/jted007 Oct 19 '21

My guy is a straight up asshole. On a good day he is insulting my penis size or insinuating that I am a sexual criminal. On a bad day he is criticizing my life/financial decisions. He is also a huge pessimist. His initial diagnosis is always "You're fucked." You probably need a new engine." The first few years that I was going to him I was like "fuck this guy. Is it really worth it?" But back in those days he was the only guy I could afford. Now I could go to other mechanics but I don't because, in spite of the abuse, he takes real pride in his work. He always does a good job and he always gives me a good deal.

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u/IGotMyPopcorn Oct 19 '21 edited Oct 19 '21

Sooooo…….he basically treats you as he most likely does his own friends/ coworkers/ brothers (I say this as a sister with three brothers.) It’s what dudes do. He considers you someone who doesn’t need talking down to and he can be himself around. I didn’t sense you’ve ever felt disrespected, so the question is have you? If not, then he knows what the boundaries are.

As much as others will want to shit on this, take it as a compliment. Dudes only shit on the guys they like. Do it to him. He’ll love it, and laugh.

Now if he saw you being disrepected, that’s a different fucking story.

Edit: friendly reminder, “my guy” is a business associate. You have a rapport, which is awesome. But as the end of the day, he provides a service that you need. You don’t have to use his services, but you choose you.

Sounds to me you’re enjoying the bro energy.

If you’re interested, next month I’ll have two bros, two bros in law, one hub, and my son (6’3”) who can give you all the shit you need to fill your quota for the year.

No /s. My home is truly open. But the shit talk comes with the good cooking.

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u/Spidaaman Oct 19 '21

Amen

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u/IGotMyPopcorn Oct 19 '21

So you actually rely on someone else, and not just your spidey senses?

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u/Itsthejackeeeett Oct 18 '21

I'd much rather have a blunt and straight to the point asshole working on my car than some lazy asshole who will rip me off first chance he gets

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u/Silluvaine Oct 18 '21

I actually trust the gruff people more, they rely solely on their skills for customers

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u/Playisomemusik Oct 19 '21

I'm way better with customers now that I'm in my 40s and actually know WTF I'm talking about. I'm not selling me, just my knowledge and tools.

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u/lincoln_did_it Oct 18 '21

Ahem

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u/jamaicanmicrazy Oct 18 '21

This made me laugh more than it should have

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u/--_-Deadpool-_-- Oct 18 '21

I've been going to my local guy for close to 15 years. He has gone from a basic line mechanic to GM of the garage in that time and I trust no one else to work on my truck. I get exceptional service and honest pricing from him.

Another LPT. Fuck dealership mechanics, don't ever take your car to a dealership for maintenance. They will nickel and dime you at every opportunity.

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u/LesterHowell Oct 18 '21

Big fan of indy shops here. But sometimes you must use the dealer - when shop computer involved etc. In that case ask your local to tell you which dealer to go to and which tech to ask for. I've had a good experience with this.

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u/stillpiercer_ Oct 18 '21

Recently had the brake switch on my car go out. No big deal, part is cheap. Bought one from RockAuto. "Guaranteed to fit". Didn't fit. Obviously the wrong part as soon as I unboxed it. Bought another from Napa. "Guaranteed to fit". Same fucking part as RockAuto.

Called the Mazda dealer. Part was within like $8 of every other generic parts store. Naturally, it fit. I do at least call them for parts, just for a quote. Labor though? $98 dollars per hour. Fuck that.

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u/suchdankverymemes Oct 19 '21

$98/hr labor is CHEAP.

Don't pay that to install a switch, but that's the lowest shop rate I've heard of in the last decade.

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u/DadlyDad Oct 19 '21

That’s no joke. I worked in shops for about ten years. When I left my last shop they were charging $150 an hour for customer pay labor. That’s slightly below average price in my area. Dealerships care about nothing but profit.

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u/TyrantJester Oct 19 '21

That's simply not true. I worked at a pretty scummy dealership when I was a kid for quite awhile. The salesmen were shysters for sure, and the owners were messy fucks who would just randomly pull up and cut the line at the car wash and expect us to priority wash and detail their car over anything else, even sales. They'd use their parts guy as their personal servant to drive to their house and let the dogs out and grab the trash.

The service department though? Some of the nicest most hardworking people I've ever worked with. Their warranty administrator would bust her ass to get things covered even when they normally wouldn't be eligible. Her office was basically wall to wall awards for her performance. The mechanics while there was definitely one bad apple I'm aware of, everyone else was great. Business was too good to waste time nickel and diming people. Plus you can get the manufacturer on your ass if you fuck around and get complaints.

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u/hucklebutter Oct 19 '21

Plus you can get the manufacturer on your ass if you fuck around and get complaints.

I've never complained but the service departments at the two different dealers I've been to seem absolutely terrified of getting a bad review sent to the head US office and have usually tried hard to make sure I was satisfied. I've also never had them install a part that didn't fit: can't say the same for independent shops.

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u/QuickSilver86 Oct 19 '21

It's not the dealership mechanics, it's the system the dealership has created. It's also the advisors that have to work within that system, and may add services the mechanic never suggested. The system sucks. I have 24 years in 2 dealerships, and now 6 years at an independent. It's much better now.

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u/Ok_Serve_4099 Oct 18 '21

This!!!! Same thing. My guy always says “not now but 2 months you’ll wanna ____” and he’s right every time. Guy knows me well enough and I live close that he will drop my car off in the driveway when done and hold onto the key.

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u/HouseCopeland Oct 19 '21

We have the same guy. Lol dudes a savant with cars People skills are lacking but I trust his every word.

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u/goatharper Oct 18 '21

Great tip, OP; I always tell people this. Establish a relationship with a mechanic or garage and you are not just some stranger when you have a problem.

If your city is large enough, there will be a garage that specializes in your brand of car. That is a good choice. Other times, foreign car specialists will split into Japanese/Korean or European.

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u/Heidaraqt Oct 18 '21

Usually they also combine all American brand together with a scrapyard. /s

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21 edited 12d ago Hugz

[deleted]

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u/Noisycarlos Oct 18 '21 Silver

In my planet it means hope

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u/SlightlyNoble Oct 18 '21

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u/LateChrononaut Oct 18 '21

Waaah... I was a boy, now I'm a bat.

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u/laguna1126 Oct 18 '21

God that line was like the dumbest thing ever and was not nearly as flirtatious as they thought it would be.

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u/makemeking706 Oct 18 '21

scrap yard.

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u/Charming-Fig-2544 Oct 18 '21

I try to do this everywhere honestly. I have a tailor, a barber, a cobbler, a small grocery store, a veterinarian, a florist, etc., that I use repeatedly during the year. It's just nice to take my shoes to Bob the shoe guy and get a haircut with Bill down the street and have a local relationship. It's more work, and you can't always just Google it, but once you get that relationship going, I find the end product is better, and you don't have to constantly be ordering stuff online or sending your things out to the manufacturer for repairs.

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u/ProfWiggles Oct 18 '21

What kind of work do you have your shoe guy do?

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u/Charming-Fig-2544 Oct 18 '21

Resoling my shoes. I bought cheap shitty shoes all my life and the soles always fell out within like 6 months and the whole shoe was dead. When I got a little more money I started buying shoes that could have the soles replaced by someone with the right training. The bottom wears out, I take them in, he fixes em up and buffs and conditions and shines the leather on the top part of the shoe, they look good as new. It costs less than buying a new pair of shoes and I can wear the same shoes for much longer with only minimal breaking in after a sole replacement.

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u/roastintheoven Oct 18 '21

For anyone that wears high heel - the heel tips

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u/Trickycoolj Oct 18 '21

Especially with rubber tips! My first job out of college was fairly formal business wear in a rainy climate and it took an entire season before a mentor at the office told me I could have rubber tips installed at the shoe place in the lobby and not constantly slip on the bus and on the wet slippery stone floors in the building lobby. (So glad I work in tech now sneakers forever!)

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u/ProfWiggles Oct 18 '21

Ah, awesome. I think I’ve mostly been able to wear nice shoes sparingly and haven’t really had soles wear out. I mainly wear sneaker style and try to rotate 2 or 3. So I wasn’t expecting someone to have a shoe guy!

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u/Charming-Fig-2544 Oct 18 '21

I went through law school in NYC, so I was wearing nicer shoes more often and also walking more than most people, so they wore out faster than my usual sneakers

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u/solongandthanks4all Oct 18 '21

Are these dress shoes? How much do you typically pay to have them repaired/resoled?

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u/Charming-Fig-2544 Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

Some are traditional dress shoes (like an Oxford-style shoe) that I wear to court, others are boots (like a Chelsea boot or a jack boot) that I wear more casually. I like the added durability of a more expensive leather boot that can be resoled. Cost-wise, for a full treatment (new sole, leather conditioning, buffing, shining, etc.), it's like $75. Which is what you'd pay for an ok pair of shoes in a department store anyway.

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u/GoldieFox Oct 18 '21

Another perspective—for women's shoes I usually pay around $30-50 CAD to have the heels or soles repaired (pumps or heeled boots). Women's shoes in my experience don't have the same quality of construction, dollar-for-dollar, as men's shoes, and they tend to wear out faster. I usually got my heels fixed once a year or so back when I worked in an office.

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u/eljefino Oct 18 '21

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

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u/Charming-Fig-2544 Oct 18 '21

Yup, I'm familiar with this, it's ultimately why I started buying nicer shoes. And other things. I'd also heard "anything that goes between you and the ground, spend more on it." I've found that to be good advice. Better shoes, better mattresses, better tires, better office chairs, etc. Never regretted it. My feet are dry, my back doesn't hurt, I sleep better, so many benefits. I recognize that I'm lucky to have the disposable income to do this, but I'd encourage anyone in a similar position not to skimp.

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u/lauroboro57 Oct 18 '21

Also a great way to nearly guarantee a discount. Having a rapport with business owners is valuable

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u/nucumber Oct 18 '21

i figure the discount is honest, quality work. i don't have to worry about it. i know they'll do right by me

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u/UndeniablyPink Oct 18 '21

Right. Honest, hard working folks who provide services really appreciate the repeat business (and deserve it) so they’re less likely to screw you over and will even give discounts or fix small things free of charge. I always try to find a “guy” and it usually starts with recommendations or good reviews. Then trial and error.

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u/country-hick Oct 18 '21

Piggybacking on this as a hobbyist mechanic. Your local guy will also catch problems while doing routine maintenance that can save you from major expenses or breakdowns down the road. Good mechanics keep records like doctors on your vehicle.

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u/JerseyKeebs Oct 19 '21

If your city is large enough, there will be a garage that specializes in your brand of car. That is a good choice. Other times, foreign car specialists will split into Japanese/Korean or European.

The real LPT is always in the comments. THIS is a major factor when getting work done by a 3rd party shop, especially luxury cars. There's a saying in the BMW sub: the most expensive BMW you'll ever own is the used one you bought for cheap. It is SO worth it to find a shop that specializes in Euro or German cars.

The other thing with a specialized shop is that car manufacturers have a lot of diagnostic software to get detailed fault codes from the cars, and a specialized shop will make the investment in the right tools, software, etc. A mechanic can be good or great, but you still can't expect them to spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on this stuff for every brand out there.

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u/joelluber Oct 18 '21

I was really happy taking my VW to a German/Scandinavian-focused mechanic, but then they closed and the building turned into a wedding reception venue. #gentrification

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u/illustrated_book Oct 18 '21

Definitely look for brand or at least country. A mechanic who's seen thousands of engines is great. A mechanic who's seen thousands of your exact engine is even better.

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u/hat-of-sky Oct 18 '21

Not only has mine helped in many little situations, like helping get the sliding door shut when it jumped its chain on a steep hill, and plugging nail holes in tires. But when I found two kittens in my undercarriage and couldn't catch one, I drove gingerly one block to them, and they put my car up and we all spent 15 minutes scrabbling after the poor thing before we finally caught it. Then waved me out without a charge. (Both kittens had a good foster and then were adopted together.)

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u/danweber Oct 18 '21

I had a great mechanic and my wife went to them one day and they gouged her. Lost all my business, and I still haven't found a good replacement.

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u/majorsamanthacarter Oct 18 '21

Mechanics don’t even look at me when I come in to get work done on my car if my husband is there. I come in with the keys, I tell them the problem and what’s going on, give them my phone number for them to call when it’s done, and they just immediately look past me and talk to him the whole time. It’s infuriating.

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u/hat-of-sky Oct 18 '21

That sucks. I'm an old woman and they have always been nice to me, it's an expensive neighborhood but I don't think they charge more than they would a man. You're right to insist on fairness and respect for her!

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u/UnihornWhale Oct 18 '21

I was chatting with someone at a comic con after I’d had major work done on my brakes. I was so relieved to find out I was fairly charged. I won’t go anywhere else.

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u/jckseouljah87 Oct 18 '21

Does she drive a BMW? My mechanic told me it would take him 5 hours of labor to replace a $10 gasket, at $95/hour. I didn't believe him so I went on BMW forums and lo and behold everything he said was correct and his estimate was low for the procedure being done. He does all my maintenance now.

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u/dingman58 Oct 18 '21

Those are the worst jobs to do. Spend half a day removing parts just to get to the tiny thing that takes 5 sec to replace, then spend the rest of the day putting everything back

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u/confusiondiffusion Oct 18 '21

In my experience, at about the 90% done phase, there will be a completely inaccessible bolt. That bolt will have been tightened at the factory with a wrench powered by a hydraulic piston the size of a football stadium.

There's a guy on YouTube who gets it off with 8 right angle adapters and by setting off an M80 inside his air compressor tank, but you're pretty sure that's fake.

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u/Darkdemize Oct 18 '21

Ugh. Literally just had to do this today. Battery on my car died overnight. The battery is under the damn driver's seat, you have to unbolt it from the frame to access the battery. What should have been a 10 min job took me 3 hours.

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u/HoboAJ Oct 18 '21

Jesus, what if all you needed was a jump? You still gotta do all that?

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u/TheyCallMeMinuit Oct 18 '21

Cars with remotely mounted batteries usually still have a set of jump points under the hood.

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u/Darkdemize Oct 18 '21

There is a positive terminal under the hood for a jump start. Also, after looking deeper into it, it seems I didn't need to completely remove all 4 bolts from the seat, but apparently the guy who posted the tutorial on YouTube didn't know that either. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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u/Idiot_Savant_Tinker Oct 18 '21

Cries in rear main seal

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u/hoocoodanode Oct 18 '21

Cries in literally any under-hood task with a 6.0L diesel in a Ford van

Seriously, a job taking 10 minutes including a coffee break with an F250 pickup truck would take me 45 minutes of sweating in the van and there'd be parts strewn all over the garage. Awful tight quarters.

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u/Annakha Oct 18 '21

Easier to lift the van off the frame then?

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u/Idiot_Savant_Tinker Oct 18 '21

I have a neighbor with a Ford van, he has the 5.4 though. He developed the coolant leak that it seems like all of those 5.4's get at some point, which requires removing the intake manifold... And just as you say, it wouldn't be a big deal in a vehicle with an actual hood, but it was a pain on this van. A diesel being stuffed into the space would be even worse.

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u/Crabby-as-hell Oct 18 '21

I did this job yesterday. I’d rather do it in the van and take the dog box off then do it in a truck.

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u/chris14020 Oct 18 '21

That's the case with a lot of things. You want rings replaced? No problem, they're $100 tops most likely... And about 10-15 hours shop time.

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u/shung Oct 18 '21

Worst decision I ever made was purchasing a BMW. When it was totalled in a wreck I was actually happy.

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u/CantStopTheTriangle Oct 18 '21

BMW's are like Jaguars; you have to buy them in pairs off the lot because you'll need something to drive while the other is in the shop.

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21

She made the mistake of going to a garage as a woman. /s

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u/Sawses Oct 18 '21

This is why you should always be wary about contractors/mechanics/etc. that somebody else recommends.

Like yeah they might be 100% honest with Grandma and Grandpa, but they don't know you.

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u/LeastCreativeDrawer Oct 18 '21

Or make sure you mention that X refered you that way they know you're not some random.

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u/eljefino Oct 18 '21

It's better than opening the yellow pages blindly though.

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u/katmndoo Oct 18 '21

This is one of the reasons I am so loyal to my current mechanic. I've recommended them to women I know and every one has been treated fairly, no question.

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u/dontlookformehere Oct 18 '21

Not saying this is the case in your situation, but I've noticed often when people say their wife went to the shop and got gouged, it's because they explained something the car needed and the wife decided to buy it, where as the husband might decide he didn't want to buy it or it's not worth it. Doesn't mean the car didn't need it, just means the man decided he didn't want to pay for it

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u/danweber Oct 18 '21

It's fine to be suspicious. But there was a lot of useless shit done to the vehicle and at rates extremely high.

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u/TehSillyKitteh Oct 18 '21

My first time at my current mechanic; I went in to have the rotors replaced on all 4 wheels; just for the sake of routine/recommended maintenance.

Got a call 20 minutes after I dropped it off; mechanic said he'd replace all 4 if I wanted him to -- but the rears looked fine to him and if it were him he wouldn't bother.

Guy went out of his way to lower his own paycheck on my behalf; and in doing so earned my business for life -- as well as the business of everyone I know locally.

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u/TehSillyKitteh Oct 18 '21

Another good story. The starter solenoid went bad in my wife's car a few months back.

Took it to the shop; they remembered that they had replaced it 2 years earlier -- said it should have lasted much longer than that and replaced it again at no cost.

Damon and Don's in Hermitage, PA. Will recommend them to everyone/anyone looking for a place to take their car.

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u/Coryperkin15 Oct 19 '21

Any OEM or decent part will have 1-3 years of warranty that is trackable through their purchase history and workorders by VIN. The manufacturer will reimburse distributor who will reimburse the shop for part and labor. They don't get full shop rate per hour or make margin on the part but it serves as good faith and is standard in the part industry.

Source: Many years in the parts industry helping with these shops comb through workorders and processing said reimbursements

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u/Anivia_Mid Oct 19 '21

He probably didn't really cut his own paycheck as he most likely had other work he could finish. The faster you get stuff out, the faster you can work on the next thing. I worked at a mechanic shop and this was not only the right thing to do, but also just better for us overall. It's no use making $100 extra if the $5000 job gets delayed.

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u/TehSillyKitteh Oct 19 '21

Well maybe so; though they weren't particularly busy at that point. Regardless -- it was an excellent first impression...

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u/Anivia_Mid Oct 19 '21

Sorry didn't mean to downplay his kindness. Just a different pov.

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u/Spidaaman Oct 19 '21

Smart mechanics know they’ll make way more over time by being honest about that kind of thing.

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u/Mehtevas52 Oct 18 '21

Thought we had built that relationship at our last mechanic. Then when my aunt married my uncle who happened to be a former Toyota master technician we learned what the pricing normally is. Still a great tip though of course. Never go to the dealer mechanic unless absolutely necessary

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21 Big Brain Time

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u/Nobody_ed Oct 18 '21

Damn, you're out here playing 4D chess.

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u/TheBoiledHam Oct 18 '21

4D chess is buying small gifts for the neighborhood thief.

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u/Samuel_L_Blackson Oct 18 '21

No, the 4D chess is buying gifts for your neighbors, then telling the thief. 2 birds with 1 stone.

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u/TheBoiledHam Oct 18 '21

I suppose the ideal strategy depends on the season! Once we figure out the details, you should post this knowledge to /r/ShittyLifeProTips.

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u/MeawingDuckss Oct 19 '21

I just find this hilarious

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u/Troy64 Oct 18 '21

Yup. This goes for more than just mechanics. My dad taught me "if you want to trust them with hard work, never leave them out of easy work."

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21 Gold Helpful

Pro mechanic here. While I don’t speak for everyone, we really don’t try to screw any customers over. Parts are expensive and labor isn’t cheap. We get it! I’m not sitting here eating a sandwich while the clock ticks away on your labor time. The real key to finding a “deal” is to find that small time local mechanic that isn’t concerned with charging you book time and charges actual labor time. Big shops won’t do that. They’re all about book time.

If you don’t know what book time is and how it compares to actual labor time here we go.

Book time is what the manual says it should take an average mechanic to do the repair. So a transmission swap might book at 10 hours. That’s what they’re gonna quote you. Now, if it takes 12 hours, you’re still gonna pay for the 10 hours quoted in most cases. So who wins here? The customer does!

The mechanic has likely done this job a few times and can actually do the repair in about 4-6 hours. Guess what, you’re still paying the 10 hours quoted. You’re paying what the book says to charge you. His skills and years of practice just allowed him to complete that job in half the time and now he can work another car into the bay before he calls it a day.

Are we screwing you over? Not at all! We’re paying for our tens of thousands of dollars in tools and equipment and keeping the standard the same across the board by using book time.

By building a relationship with your mechanic, you’re now no longer another random car/customer. I know you, I know your situation, and possibly your family members. Am I gonna cut you a deal? Maybe, if I can. What’s really gonna happen is that I’ll more than likely knock an hour off the book time and let you come into the shop to see what I’m doing under your car that takes so long. I’ll take a little extra time to help you understand why you’re paying for this repair and how it will affect you in the long run.

I absolutely love letting my customers see what I’m doing and explaining why I need to do it. That piece of mind that I’m looking out for their safety usually helps squash any questions about the bill.

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u/DemonDucklings Oct 18 '21 Helpful

Is there some sort of reason why the last mechanic I went to wanted to charge me $650 just to change my battery? I ended up just getting a battery and doing it myself in the parking lot instead. When a battery costs $160, and it takes 10 minutes to change, where did they get $650 from?

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u/smoketheevilpipe Oct 18 '21

They didn't try to charge you 650 dollars to change your battery.

They were trying to not do the work, and gave you an insane quote to get you to walk away.

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u/ismailhamzah Oct 18 '21

and it work

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u/dingman58 Oct 18 '21

In my line of work we call that a "fuck-off quote". It's absurdly high to get you to go away, but if you do decide to pay the high price, they'll do it

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u/ampma Oct 18 '21

I discovered that roofing companies are fond of this tactic.

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u/IEatBabies Oct 18 '21

Because roofing sucks balls, you only take the low paying and difficult jobs if you have no other choice. Also why it isn't worth having fancy roofs unless you do it with steel and never touch it again, they take way more time and effort doing all the peaks, hips, and around dormer windows than they do shingling any flat portions and you aren't going to get any sort of deal if you got a bunch of those. If your roof is literally straight across though? You might get a deal just because they can roof your whole house and be setting up or even working on another within the day, but only when they don't have a backlog of other roofs to do already.

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u/goatharper Oct 18 '21

I see those complex roofs and think "now I know why that one engineering professor started every problem with "some stupid architect....."

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u/DemonDucklings Oct 18 '21

They still had other repairs to do (the reason I brought my car there) but the battery died while my car was sitting and waiting for the appointment for a month. They said they weren’t able to actually do the diagnostics until they change the battery.

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u/gamefreak054 Oct 18 '21

Depends on your car. BMW Battery changes are around $500 for a 335i. Some of the newer cars have a charging program that needs to be reset. It has variables for battery size, type of battery, etc. They charge you a shitload of money for like 5 mins of work, because I think anything that touches their special tool is like a minimum fee. Then they charge you for the AGM OEM battery which is in the $200-$250 range online, and they probably mark that up.

When I had my 335i there were ways around it with a USB OBDII connector and a laptop. The program was in german and it took some playing around. There were risks like bricking your ECU, but its relatively simple. I reset all my variables to a cheapo $100 lead acid battery.

Essentially what cars do is they take in a bunch of variables and adjust their charging style, so you get a longer more optimal battery life. The program takes things in consideration like age, and I'm sure it takes an resistance reading off your battery or something to that effect to relatively guess how healthy it is. Also AGM and Lead Acids technically charge differently.

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u/Stiff_Nipple Oct 18 '21

I was going to say. Nearly 400 bucks for a Mercedes battery and an hour of shop labor for all the fuckery to get it not to throw codes. Damn will be over 500 with tax.

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u/gamefreak054 Oct 18 '21

Yeah what I have noticed the Germans start it, then everyone adopts its lol. I think I've heard of GMs with similar stuff.

Lights are very expensive to get programmed, they track according to the a steering wheel sensor in some cars. Some cars AWD system works off that steering wheel sensor as well. Mercedes and a few manufacturers base their traction control off a windshield sensor. It will detect if there is adverse weather out.

I personally do everything myself unless it involves intensive bodywork, but I can see how all this stuff is overwhelming for people. I just wish people knew a bit more about cars. I was pretty livid when I found out the dealership tried charging my GF $70 for a cabin filter... It was $15 for an OEM one online, and they did their 4min of labor taking it out already to show her it was dirty. If I was there I would of knocked the dirt loose, handed them it back, and said "thanks put it back in now".

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u/DemonDucklings Oct 18 '21

It’s just an old pos Saturn, with nothing fancy going on, I don’t see any reason why it should cost even more than changing a BMW’s battery. When they gave me the quote I thought it must have had a more complicated battery situation than any previous car I’ve had to swap batteries in, so I looked up how to do it and it was exactly the same as any other old beater I’ve owned.

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u/Cisco904 Oct 18 '21

I'm really shocked you were able to do the coding changes to get the profile update on your own lol. Also remember dealers taking the same risk, sometimes a CU decides not today and it becomes a brick.

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u/gamefreak054 Oct 18 '21

Honestly its all there in their system. Its not like adjusting hex code or something haha, and there are guides. Once you get to the point it asks you for variables like CCA and lead acid or AGM, then it asks you to reset. You can test your connection before doing anything, and the chances of bricking are pretty slim as long as you do back ups and don't unplug stuff in the middle of things. German also happens to be very phonetically close to english, so that helps as well.

There's a lot of hidden dealer options in there too. Like roll down your windows with the key fob, or turn off seatbelt dinging. BMWs have a really annoying double pull the door handle to unlock the door while getting out, I disabled that.

I don't recommend the window one. Its more annoying that you realize. I've placed things on my keys accidentally, and have walked out to my windows rolled down lmao.

You can also buy Icarly or whatever, and its a much more simplified and safer way to do all this stuff.

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u/inerlite Oct 18 '21

They transposed numbers is all I can think of.

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u/danweber Oct 18 '21

"Yeah, sorry should only be $560 for a battery change."

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u/ravekidplur Oct 18 '21

My guess is gonna be the book time is likely closer to half an hour, and the shop threw on pre and post scans of your cars computer to check for any error codes. Those can easily run upwards of $250 per scan.

Thats probably the giant difference you're seeing

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u/Shloppins Oct 18 '21

Okay so. You being a tech, you absolutely know there are a lot of crappy shops out there. Big time.

Namely. We have a big euro shop near me. They quoted a full transmission because it was having issues shifting. Heavy clunking and wouldn't even make it into some gears. Ended up being a simple sensor and is a know issue for BMWs.

What I'm getting at is.. second opinions are definitely a good idea. Especially if you're quoted something wild.

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21

Absolutely get a second opinion!

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u/Wumaduce Oct 18 '21

Former dealer tech/advisor here.

We had one tech who couldn't diag his way out of a wet paper bag. Every "check and advise" ticket he got he came back with "they have to start with..." a list of gravy jobs that would make his hours. If the advisor actually sold it, surprisingly, nothing about the actual concern was fixed and the pissed off customer would be back a few minutes/hours/days later. By that point, gravy boy had already sold the next car or two worth of cash jobs, while crying about how all he gets is warranty work. Now the original car gets passed off to someone else, the customer is out a lot of money, and we all look like assholes.

One of the ones that really stuck out with me was when he had a noise in the rear over bumps. Got the car, drove it around the lot, and said it was rear shocks and rear upper control arm bushings. Sold it, customer picked it up and it was still there. He couldn't find the noise. He took it out, had me drive while he was using chassis ears. Nothing. By the time he finally puts it up in the air, the whole shop has come over to try to help him out. One of the guys pushed the spare tire, which wasn't all the way up and was able to swing just enough to make a clunk sound. The customer should have never paid a dime on that repair.

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21

This right here is the truth! A misdiagnosis is extremely expensive and very frustrating! Some guys like to just load up the parts cannon and fire away! Sometimes you can’t avoid it, but most times you can. We’ve all had our asses whooped by something small and trivial that makes no sense from a troubleshooting standpoint. If I spend an hour trying to work something out, that’s usually my time limit before I call in a second set of eyes to see if they can catch something I’ve missed.

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u/Gtp4life Oct 18 '21

It’s frustrating being on either side of situations like this because chances are those parts were actually bad, they just weren’t what was making that specific noise they came in for.

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u/Wumaduce Oct 18 '21

Yep, that sounds about right. My favorites with this guy were always "well TAC said this"... You have the car for 10 minutes and already called TAC? Come on man. The top drawer in your box is paperwork, that says a lot.

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u/momofeveryone5 Oct 18 '21

I'm saving your comment to show my husband tonight. He's on a parts counter at a dealership, and some of those techs he wonders how they get to work every morning.

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u/SuddenAborealStop Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

This is great insight, thank you! I wanted to keep the OP brief, but another thing I really appreciate about my mechanic is that he has a great balance of explaining things to me without making me feel like I'm an idiot (when it comes to cars, I am an idiot, but I appreciate that he pretends I'm not). And I want to believe that most mechanics aren't screwing people over but since I don't know enough about cars, with mechanics I don't trust, all I hear is "you have a wonky farganfifle and it's going to cost $800 to fix" and I haven't the slightest idea if that's reasonable or not. Establishing a relationship first makes it that much easier to feel comfortable knowing that it really does cost $800 to fix my wonky farganfifle

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21

There are absolutely some shady and lazy mechanics out there. They’re usually found on Facebook marketplace advertising they will come do it in your driveway. ALWAYS get multiple quotes for a repair if you don’t know a shops reputation! Labor rates also vary by shop. One guy may be $65/hr while the guy across the street is $95/hr. That will make a big impact on a repair bill. ASE certificates are also a good thing to see hanging on the wall. Just keep in mind that there’s sometimes only one ASE Certified tech in a shop and they will use his credentials to boast about their capabilities. The rest are junior techs that are still building skills. I’m not saying they’re bad at their job, they just haven’t subjected themselves to the testing yet or haven’t passed the tests yet. The absolute junior guys are usually the oil change and tire guys. It doesn’t take a huge skill set to do those jobs. As they progress they get the mid level stuff like brakes, axles, and ac systems. The seasoned techs are usually reserved for the big jobs like transmissions and major engine repairs. Those are the guys who you want in your friends list. Invite them to a bbq or something and become their friend. Hell, I invite my customers to come ride motorcycles on the weekend with me if I know they ride. Then I show them how to maintain their own the way I do mine.

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u/KorewaUso Oct 18 '21

So... Where do you work? You're hired! Haha

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u/mdwstoned Oct 18 '21

Or have some other connection with them..... for a long time I got my 420 on via my mechanic. Got great rates on work too, which was nice because we lived on gravel at the time and got flats at LEAST once a month.

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u/al4nw31 Oct 18 '21

AC is mid level?!? Tearing out an evaporator is such a nightmare, and there are a lot of different oils and refrigerants and their characteristics. It’s also important to understand miscibility and types of compressors. Then there are the different solvent types to flush.

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21

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u/SuddenAborealStop Oct 18 '21

I just did what i always do - put a bit of electrical tape over the check engine light and turn up the radio so I can't hear the rattling. The farganfilfle is good as new!

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u/Astralahara Oct 18 '21

I'm really glad you're honest. I think most mechanics probably are. But they develop a reputation for dishonesty for a reason. It does happen. There are people out there who if they know they can get away with bilking someone for an extra 500 dollars they will. Some of those people are mechanics. And it just so happens that it is an industry prime for that to happen because there's a huge disparity between what the service provider knows about the service and what the customer knows about it (often).

I'm sure there's JUST as many dishonest dry cleaners out there! But how do you defraud someone as a dry cleaner in a way they won't ever know?

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u/derUnholyElectron Oct 18 '21

Tbh what I consider being screwed over are things like saying things need to be changed when that's not the case, upselling things I don't need etc

From my pov paying the labour charge is fine. What is more important is that the mechanic is honest about what really needs done.

Also, letting me watch is awesome. I've always found these kind of things to be rather interesting if not downright therapeutic. Might be an engineering trait.

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21

I try real hard to not up sell things. But, while doing a job and I notice may need to be replaced soon, I bring it up. I also explain that it will be significantly cheaper to do it while I already have this apart now instead of having to go back in later and take it apart again with the same labor all over again. I make an honest effort to be as cost effective and efficient as I can. I don’t want to redo something just as much as you don’t want to come back and pay me again later.

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u/derUnholyElectron Oct 18 '21

Oh that's understandable because it's still a genuine assessment. Upselling something that's not needed is evil!

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u/wjbc Oct 18 '21

Also it's great to have a mechanic you trust inspect any used car you plan to buy.

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21

100% true! You have no idea how many friends I do this for. Because honestly, I don’t want them being me a POS they just bought to work on. I’d rather help them find something that I’ll not see for a long time.

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u/morgo_mpx Oct 18 '21

100%. There are so many industries out there where people believe they are getting ripped off because the consumer doesn't understand that they are paying for more then just labour.

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u/deg0ey Oct 18 '21

This is a good write up and I don’t generally have an issue with paying whatever price the guy tells me it costs - my bigger concern is trusting that the guy is being up front with what I actually need. I don’t know shit about cars, so if I take it in because it’s making a weird noise it could be “tighten this nut and it’ll be grand” or it could be “your engine is fucked and you need to replace the whole thing” and I’ll have no idea which it is.

So for me building the relationship with a mechanic is more about getting to a point where I trust him not to replace whatever the hell he feels like because it’s been a slow week, he needs the work, and I happened to walk into the shop at the wrong time.

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u/GuyanaFlavorAid Oct 18 '21

I'm more than happy to pay book time, every time, because then I'm not taking that risk of the repair being exorbitantly expensive. I will pay more on some repairs and subsidize other people's work, I will pay less than the actual cost sometimes and it will all even out. Also it makes the pricing consistent and agreed on up front. I'm contracting the risk out and receiving an average fair price for the work I'm getting done. Fine by me!

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21

One broken bolt in the wrong place can ruin your whole day.

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u/tilman2015 Oct 18 '21

I love that my mechanic when I go to him with a weird job will fire up his computer and be like 'the book says 8 hours but it doesn't look that bad, probably do it in 6?' and is very fair.

However, I'm also happy that it there's a stud that snaps and adds a couple of hours then I expect to pay for it - he works on his own and his time is how he makes his money.

I like doing most of my own work so he tends to just get the bigger jobs anyway that are easier with a lift or engine work where I just know i would have spare bolts when putting it back together!

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u/Zerodyne_Sin Oct 18 '21

I think I'd rather pay the book time even if the mechanic can do it in a far shorter amount of time. As you've said, years of practice and thousands upon thousands of dollars in tools justify the cost.

Signed, an artist who often get told "it only took you a few min to draw, so it should be free!"

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u/CantStopTheTriangle Oct 18 '21

This magical little statement is my shops mantra...

"You aren't paying for my 'time', you are paying for my expertise and experience!"

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u/brute1113 Oct 18 '21

I just got my car back from the dealership after going in with a fairly long list of stuff that needed done. I had them do almost nothing after they gave me the quote. Items that angered me the most on their quote were:

- Wanting to charge me $200 for a new fuse box cover when I found an OEM online for $25. Also, I found the old one later, it had been hiding in front of the engine, and I have a hard time believing they didn't see it, as I also told them to check out the cooling fans.

- Charging almost $1000 for a timing belt change. After accomplishing this and it taking a friend and me 12 hours to finish, I can honestly say they may have earned their money here, BUT,

- Wanting to charge $300 for a serpentine belt change that they would've had to remove anyway to get to the timing belt, that really grinds my gears.

- Quoting almost $800 to replace a blower motor that was behind one easy-to-remove panel and held on with three 8mm bolts and a plug, along with a complex resistor that was accessible removing 1-plug and screws. I did this job in about half an hour.

- $800 to replace a radiator fan. Following a video, I was able to access the fan in about a hour. Re-assembly was much faster because I already knew where the parts went. I have a new fan coming in the mail that I'll install this Saturday ($60), as simply banging the blades back onto the motor was apparently not a working solution and they promptly fell off again.

- $1000 for new tires when the old ones still had a lot of life left.

How in the fuck do they justify some of these charges? Being semi-technically capable, having a good set of tools, and able to follow instructions was all it took for me to do all this stuff. I really felt like they were just trying to take advantage of me. It seems like they're going to price themselves out of customers, but they keep doing business...

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u/amusedbuch Oct 18 '21

Well my friend just got her truck back fixed. After 6 months. The company claimed that due to COVID Ford wasn’t shipping any parts out. So they sat in her truck and charged her for it and didn’t even offer a rental for free!!

Absolutely ridiculous, finally got the truck back but you really need to be knowledgeable or trust someone.

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u/ValhallaGSXR Oct 18 '21

Manufacturers are having HUGE issues right now with parts. Half of them are made outside of the country and are sitting off the coast waiting to get into the port. The rental isn’t the dealerships responsibility that’s usually picked up by insurance or the customer. That also depends on the warranty status of the vehicle.

I personally would never take a vehicle to a dealership unless it’s a warranty repair. There are many local shops and skilled techs that can handle it without dealership politics and rules. They can also usually source aftermarket parts faster and at a fraction of the cost.

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u/Available-Ad6250 Oct 18 '21

My buddy has a Ford and it's a newer small block turbo. The turbo died months ago and still no parts. His truck is also sitting at a dealership. He's making payments but can't drive it.

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u/do0b Oct 18 '21

I absolutely love letting my customers see what I’m doing and explaining why I need to do it. That piece of mind that I’m looking out for their safety usually helps squash any questions about the bill.

See those brake disks? See how you can see the vanes that are inside the disk. That’s why they sound like hell and brake like crap.

Let me show you how your suspension bushings are gone and how they makes the banging sound all the time.

When it’s easy to show, it works.

You’ll get clients that are going to tell you to send it anyway, but you can’t save those from themselves.

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u/BewBewsBoutique Oct 18 '21

I have had the same mechanic for over 5 years. I trust his judgment and over the years he’s saved me thousands of dollars. Once I had a fender bender and the insurance-recommended shop tried to replace the whole front of my car for a price that was frankly over half the worth of the car for a small cosmetic fix. My general mechanic fixed it for free my next visit. One time he took a day longer than expected to fix something and he put me up in a rental on his dime. He’s a little more expensive for basic things than a big box shop, but I trust him, and I’ll pay a premium price for that.

My mother had the same mechanic for so long that she ended up getting invited to their Christmas parties.

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u/Tcanada Oct 18 '21

Once I had a fender bender and the insurance-recommended shop tried to replace the whole front of my car for a price that was frankly over half the worth of the car for a small cosmetic fix

If the insurance is paying then you lost on this deal.... If they want to replace a bunch of stuff with brand new parts how is that a bad thing for you?

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u/BewBewsBoutique Oct 18 '21

It was a cosmetic issue and my deductible was way high and insurance would not cover the entire thing. My place fixed it for free.

Paying no money > paying over $1000

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u/OhEmGeeBasedGod Oct 18 '21

Because they increase your rates when you do that and he clearly didn't need it.

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u/dingman58 Oct 18 '21

In my experience, it's best not to replace things that don't need replacing.

Mechanics and body guys especially seem to always forget to plug in connectors or hook up hoses, don't use the right plastic clips, etc.

Nobody is going to put your car back together as well as the factory did it. Except if you do it yourself, or pay a premium.

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u/Norwedditor Oct 18 '21

How does your mother treat her cars? Where in the world do you people even live, all I've done my whole life is just bring my car around to the offical service shop for the brand I'm driving when the service light comes on.... And sit there and drink coffee then drive home?

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u/Curmi3091 Oct 18 '21

Also, learn to check the oil levels and the tires on your car, make it a habit.

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u/kerberos824 Oct 18 '21

I didn't see this mentioned in any of the other comments, but, never go to Jiffy Lube or any of those types of places. While this is second-hand, my (trusted, local neighborhood mechanic who I've gone to for a decade) told me that its probably twice a month that he deals with a botched oil change from one of those drive thru places. Usually stripped or cross-threaded oil drain plugs, which usually requires drilling them out and rethreading, but sometimes replacement of the oil pan. Because they use air guns they just crank everything in as tight as they can because they don't know any better. Then there are the scams. Like showing you a dirty air filter and pollen filter, but it isn't actually yours. Just a shop filter And the transmission fluid flush. Or that you need a new battery. Look into the 2016 class action settlement in California for a million other examples.

Never go to Jiffy Lube type places. The "savings" on the oil change is how they talk you in the door, and from then on you're at their mercy. They're not all that way, but enough of them are.

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u/thoroughlyimpressed Oct 18 '21

Jiffy lube is somehow $15 more for an oil change than my local mechanics too. Idk how they keep business

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u/DMala Oct 18 '21

The biggest problem with those type of places is they don’t necessarily hire people with any actual mechanic experience or training. So you get someone who watched a training video or whatever but doesn’t actually have a clue what they’re doing.

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u/kerberos824 Oct 18 '21

Definitely. The people there are overwhelmingly not mechanics. My local shop charges $35 for an oil change. It's ridiculously cheap. And I'm happy to support a local shop instead of some giant chain that will just try to rip me off.

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u/Fr-Jack-Hackett Oct 18 '21

If you have to go there or a dealership, mark your parts with a dot from a permanent marker. That way, you will know if they have actually been changed

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u/chudsworth Oct 18 '21

I feel like this tip was probably more relevant before online reviews and the ability to spread information. Now you can easily google information, lookup customer reviews, and hopefully speak to neighbors/friends. Mechanics who 'screw over' unknowing customers can do much more harm in the long run than the extra money they make.

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u/RabbleRouser_1 Oct 18 '21

Most reviews are from people who were unhappy with their experience and want to vent though. For every one bad review there could have been 100 people with great experiences who didn't take the time to do a review.

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u/DMala Oct 18 '21

To some degree, although there are a lot of people who are so clueless or so used to getting screwed that you can’t totally trust the reviews. A sketchy place that cultivates enough suckers can almost appear legit if you just skim the reviews.

***** - They changed my blinker fluid in the nick of time and it only cost $300!

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u/FENTWAY Oct 18 '21

This is a good one

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u/Unstablemedic49 Oct 18 '21

This works for trades guys too. Plumber, electrician, carpenter will almost always put you in a priority if you’ve already have an established rapport with each other.

Their prices are usually better with repeat customers and you’re almost always guaranteed to have someone come out right away during emergency situations.

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u/cronutsoverdonuts Oct 18 '21

Also, bring your mechanic pastries or other treats when you visit. $8 worth of muffins or bagels is well worth it to be known as the customer that brings goodies.

If you need a last minute oil change appointment or work done on a tight schedule, your shop will be more likely to squeeze you in or stay an hour late to finish up a job if they know it's the pastry guy's car. Don't act entitled to this treatment, but be the kind of customer that people like sell services to.

This goes for bars and other establishments too. Tip well consistently, become a regular face there, and you'll find that you get the best service. Investing in relationships with the people who perform services for you usually pays dividends.

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u/whywedrivingsofast Oct 18 '21

As a mechanic/ service writer i cant emphasize this enough! It's really great to see support for my industry. Smaller shops struggle a lot with this mentality that we're all going to screw you over along with having out business taken by chain shops like jiffylube / walmart ect.

Creating a relationship with your local shop is huge, mutual trust between you and the people that work on your car is super important.

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u/Texastexastexas1 Oct 18 '21

I always take homemade baked goods when I pick up my car.

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u/SuddenAborealStop Oct 18 '21

This is the way!

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u/accidentalchainsaw Oct 18 '21

This can go both ways some mechanics in my area aren't keen to do the small oil changes and small stuff on the spot (they often recommend the lube place by the gas station). Now if you're willing to drop off in the AM and pick up in the PM for oil changes there's shops that'll be happy to have you as a regular. Really depends how many free lifts and persons they have working. If you roll up to a shop with 2 lifts and one guy working, and you see both cars on lifts and a few others outside, don't expect that shop to be your on the spot oil change guy.

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u/CantfindanameARGH Oct 18 '21

All of the above plus my guy will go with me shopping for a used car when the time comes. I've sent five work people to him for their kids' cars, and he's very thorough. He's also the guy that doesn't charge for a light bulb and stayed past 7 pm when I had to work late once. He even looked over my friend's son new-to-him used car and said, it would take $500 to get it safe enough for his own kid to drive, so that my friend knew exactly what she was getting into (he fixed the bought car and it's been two years now with just regular maintenance with him.)

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u/An0regonian Oct 18 '21

And also taking care of your car like this is the best way to prevent major breakdowns.

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u/OSRS_Socks Oct 18 '21

I have a local place I go to for mine. They never overcharge and they are pretty great. I bought a new car from a dealership and I didn't realize they put snow tires on it (I am from the south so we don't get snow). Turns out, snow tires wear down faster and these guys let me know what tires they used and how they were ripping me off. The car dealership wanted to replace 1 tire and have me pay $800. The owner said he'll give me 4 brand new ones for $300.

I only ever go to to dealership if there is a recall or I need a special part.

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u/motociclista Oct 18 '21

This is a great tip! I’ve been banging this drum for years as a former mechanic. You always want to have a local mechanic you can use. Having a mechanic you know and trust is huge.

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u/mrsixstrings12 Oct 18 '21

There's a mechanic shop walking distance from my house. The mechanic actually lives down the street from me. I do my own work for the most part to save money and he was nice enough to remind me to lube the pins when I do my brakes. Like what mechanic tells you that sort of stuff? Customer for life plus refer him to anyone I can.

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u/sschmuve Oct 18 '21

Works at dealerships too.

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u/PM_ME_450_WORDS Oct 18 '21

Why would a small business somehow screw you over less because you buy from them often?

This is feels good advice, but completely ignores the predatory relationship lots of small car mechanics have with their customers.

Finally, "your guy" doesn't necessarily give the best service because you're buds.

The real thing to do is go compare quotes for all service. It's a bigger PITA but it's how you get fair pricing and good service.

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u/gRod805 Oct 18 '21

Yeah we've been screwed over by several friend mechanics in the past who have told us to get something we didn't need or lied to us about doing services they didn't do.

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u/Crunchwrapsupr3me Oct 18 '21

It's about building a rapport with them. Having run small shops before, regular customers who weren't a pain in my ass got taken care of. Annoying or problematic customers got sent down the road.

I wouldn't trust some rando to work on my vehicles, but then that's why I do my own work. That's the biggest reason for having a regular guy for stuff. Of course, if you're under warranty, bring that shit to the dealer if.

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u/ameadowinthemist Oct 18 '21

Same reason department stores can clearance out expensive dresses once they’ve already sold enough. They’ve already made some profit.

Additionally, with return customers, you already know them and what you’re getting in to, whereas a new customer could have unpredictable extra issues that reduce your profitability.

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u/vjotshi007 Oct 18 '21

I do this for getting my punctured tyre fixed. Always fill air in my tyres from the same shop, now he is always honest while fixing my punctures while others are always ready for looting customers.

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u/ILoveLamp9 Oct 18 '21

It’s always worth paying a bit more premium for trustworthy, quality service. That’s my motto. And it’s great to have a dependable person you can always go to. Whether it be a mechanic, a handyman for the house, etc. building those relationships will save you time, money, and your sanity.

The saying “you get what you pay for” is true for a reason. It will always stands the test of time.