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Is Your Mechanic Ripping You Off?

You should be able to trust your repair shop. The technicians are ASE-Certified and you get friendly service at the desk. But sometimes, there’s a feeling just gnawing at the back of your brain that you’re being taken for a ride.

All too often, people cut corners to make a quick buck. That can mean you don’t get the proper service, you’re overcharged for the service you get, or it could be your insurance or warranty that is exploited. That’s just not cool, man.

Here are a few pointers to watch for to prevent being the sucker, particularly when it comes to tires. And you might even figure out where to go to get a flat tire fixed.

Tricks of the Trade

Tires are a competitive market and every tire shop is trying to make the sale. But when you take the cheapest quote you can find, you might not get the best experience in return.

  • Your tire installer could cut corners on the installation. They might reuse your valve stems instead of replace them, or they might perform just basic tire balancing instead of dynamic balancing.
  • If you’re getting a tire repair performed, the mechanic might not rebalance your wheel after the repair is done. Commonly, you’ll see a chalk mark on the tire by the valve stem if that happens to you.

Tire Shop Scams

Instead of cutting corners, your tire shop could outright scam you. That’s when you either pay for a service you don’t actually receive, or you are told a lie to take even more money from your wallet.

  • In a tire repair, the Rubber Manufacturers’ Association says an approved repair is a combination plug and patch. Tire plugs alone are not an approved repair, but your tire shop might still use it. They can charge you for a proper repair but only jam a plug into the tire. How would you know otherwise?
  • The tire shop might see that you have a repairable tire, but tell you it can’t be fixed. Now you’re on the hook for a replacement tire, and probably a whole set of four. It’s not an upsell – it’s a downright crooked deal!
  • Your tire shop may not tell you about applicable rebates for your new tires. They might even take the rebate for themselves…

It’s Not Just Tire Shops

There’s a bad apple in every bunch, and that goes for repair shops too. You can play the fool for someone’s schemes in any type of repair shop, just like these:

  • Mobile auto body repair scams happen all the time. Mobile scratch and dent repairs cut corners, often not properly prepping the surface before hastily slapping on some poorly matched paint. In just weeks or months, the shoddy workmanship shows through with cracked or peeling paint.
  • Auto repair insurance scams can go from claiming excessive supplies and parts for profit to claiming parts that go on someone else’s vehicle. Or, work charged to your insurance company may not be needed at all. Auto windshield repair scams are similar, charging your insurance company for a windshield replacement when just a glass repair would do the trick. The result is higher insurance premiums for everyone.
  • Auto repair warranty scams happen when a repair shop performs make-work projects on your car. In an auto repair network, extended warranty scams are commonplace because there’s often no one to verify the repairs are valid. It means higher vehicle purchase costs and higher extended warranty prices to cover the gap.

What to Watch For When Dealing With a Tire Shop

You can prevent playing the fool by keeping a close eye on the service you receive. Before paying your bill and taking your car, request a visual confirmation of what it is that was done.

You can also tell the shop that you want to see the problem before it’s dealt with. It’s a good way to keep the shop honest.

Check out online reviews before you choose your tire shop. Are they timely and convenient? Are they honest? Look at these reviews from some local tire shops:

“I took my car for inspection and it “FAILED.” They said it was the brakes, though they never got the tire lock and looked. They went through and elaborate quote saying the car needed new brakes and rotors and tires for close to 2k” – Goodyear NYC Tire and Auto Care

“I brought my car in to have the front two tire replaced, a process that would normally take 1 hour on average took well over 2.5 hours. The first mechanic working on my car did not know how to properly dismount and mount tires onto the rim nor balance the wheel. After talking to the manager about this, a second mechanic took over and seemed to complete the job.” – Mavis Discount Tire

“Ridiculously overpriced (almost hilarious how much they try to charge people for tires) and they try to take advantage of people. Will lie over and over just to make a sale. DO NOT GO HERE.” – Sears Auto Center

“Very impressed. I called MM Tires to repair a flat tire, a crew was at my house in less than 15 minutes, and the tire was repaired in 5-7 minutes. This saved me from needing to change my tire to the spare and spend 1-2 hours at a tire shop. Prices are reasonable too. Highly recommended!!” – MM Tires

“I called MM Tires because I had a flat tire and within an hour the tires were assessed, repaired and good to go! Super convenient not having to tow my car to an auto shop. All this for a very affordable price. Will definitely use MM Tires again and recommend to my friends.” – MM Tires

Whether you’re choosing a tire repair shop or auto repair facility for mechanical or insurance repairs, do your due diligence to prevent being scammed. Check online reviews and only choose the highest-rated service providers.

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