Sometimes, we need to just predict the car repair estimate instead of hiring car repair estimator. The older your vehicle gets, the more likely it is to need major repairs. The average age of vehicles continues to increase, with passenger cars increasing from 8.9 years (1998) to 11 years (2010). Light Trucks increased from 7.4 years to 10.1 years in the same time period (AAIA Aftermarket Fact Book 2012). One thing you can count on when you need to have repairs done, it’s most likely not going to be as cheap as you’d like it to be.
These are the things you should take into account. There are plenty of good, honest mechanics and repair shops out there. They’ll be more than happy to explain everything in your estimate to you, why you need it, what the most important repair is, and what can wait for a while. Every year 60+ billion dollars in vehicle maintenance goes unperformed (AAIA Aftermarket Fact Book 2012). Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to help avoid more expensive repairs on an aging vehicle. With that being said, it’s just plain good sense to verify for yourself, that you actually need what you’ve been told your vehicle needs.
One way to help you avoid any needless repairs or maintenance is to shop around. Take your vehicle to a few different repair shops (three is a good number) and get an estimate from all of them. If they all say the same thing and the prices are within the same range, you can feel confident that you’re getting the service you need.
There are two major drawbacks to that plan of action though. First, if your vehicle needs anything other than a minor repair or basic maintenance, you’ll be paying a diagnostic fee at all the repair shops you visit. The shop you take your vehicle to absolutely deserves the diagnostic fee they charge. The systems of your vehicle can be very complicated to diagnose, and no one wants to work for free. Second, if your vehicle doesn’t move, you’ll be paying a towing fee on top of the diagnostic fee. If that’s the case, it’s just not practical to shop your repairs around.
Another tool to help you is to look online. You can Google “auto repair estimate”, after that you will find there are a few websites that have estimators. They don’t cover all repairs, and they can’t tell you if the repair you’re correlates to the problem having done you’re experiencing, but they will help you get a better idea of a fair price for the repair you list in their query system.
They are also can’t tell you if all of the maintenance items listed on a given estimate are actually needed repairs, just give a decent guideline for what you should be charged, for that maintenance. An important note about this: the repair estimator for some of the major parts distributors will list all of the parts they want you to replace for a given repair. You may not need all of the parts they have listed.
There is also a new way to help you verify what repairs your vehicle needs. There are some places to go online and submit your mechanical estimate for review by an experienced, professional technician. You can tell them what type of problem you have and upload your estimate.
It should be noted that there is a $10 fee for this service, but it can literally save you hundreds of dollars on your repairs. It’s really that easy. They aren’t financially invested in the repair of your vehicle, so they have nothing to gain by trying to convince you to buy repairs that may not be completely necessary. You can check it out for yourself here. It can save you a ton of time, potential towing fees, and investigation when trying to shop around your auto repair estimate. What I am trying to tell you is that you can be a good car repair estimator for your own vehicle.
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