Can you ask your mechanic for better pricing?
When dealing with repairs, you have a few options to keep some money in your pocket
When it comes to getting an estimate for a repair or maintenance, you usually just shrug your shoulders, mutter “Whaddya gonna do?” and give your shop the green-light to proceed.
Often, that’s because of the trust you’ve built with your mechanic, or your experience with similar jobs in the past. But in many cases, most simply go along with it because they don’t want to make waves or create a rift between themselves and their mechanic. And of course, no one wants to look cheap. But there are alternatives that are painless and consequence-free that can save you money.
If you deal primarily with an independent shop not affiliated with a national or regional chain, these facilities are free to purchase replacement parts from just about any local source. They may primarily deal with one or two parts suppliers, but seldom — if ever — have agreements that restrict them from buying elsewhere.
In these situations, all you have to ask is if there’s a less expensive alternative that’ll do the job. Many suppliers offer different quality levels of the same part with varying warranties, and they all carry different prices. It’s sort of like the good, better and best plans, and you may not need or want the best. You also should ask what the benefits are when opting for your shop’s first choice over less expensive options.
For example, Napa lists almost 20 different front brake pad options, ranging from $41 to $274, for a 2013 Honda Civic. Of course there are differences in quality, noise level, lifespan and performance, and as with most things in life, the cheapest isn’t always the worst and the most expensive isn’t always the best. Few good shops will recommend or use products they don’t have any experience with, but if you ask for their opinion — and they’re interested in keeping you as a customer — you’ll get the right answer.
Don’t assume it’s a dealer-only item, either. Many spend more than they need to because they think only a dealership can supply the parts or skills to do the job. On the other side of the coin, they might assume the dealer will be more expensive than their go-to shop.
If it’s a common failure on a popular vehicle, aftermarket suppliers will usually be quick to develop, build and distribute solutions at competitive prices — think things like exterior mirrors, door handles, window regulators and the like. Again, all it takes is a question or two to get some answers.
If you’re shy about asking too many questions, check out various online forums and communities for your particular vehicle. There’s at least one for just about everything on the road, and several for popular, mainstream rides. While you might not get the exact answer you’re looking for, you’ll at least find some direction.
Don’t be afraid to ask your mechanic for a cheaper option on parts. Aftermarket suppliers usually offer solutions at competitive prices