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5 automotive knowledge tips and tricks you need to know

Don't get scammed at your next visit to the shop.

2w ago


People get ripped off at auto repair shops all the time. Unnecessary work is said to be needed, more expensive parts are used, and so on. There's also ripoffs at dealerships or used car lots when you buy your next ride. There is a belief that women are more targeted than men, and I've personally experienced such judgement (it doesn't help when people think I'm 17 and not 27). Not every shop or dealership will be scummy, but it's better to always walk in armed with knowledge.

I read an article (not on DT) about tips for women to avoid being ripped off at the repair shop. It was written by a woman. And what was her last tip? "Bring a man with you." I hung my head and nearly cried. She had spent the article giving us decent, informational tips, just to end it with a defeatist conclusion. But also, that tip didn't apply to anyone, male or female, who may not have a friend available to tag along; sometimes we have to go alone.

My tips are for everyone so that you can confidently walk in to a shop, or walk out if the situation calls for it. These are the easiest resources I can think of, so I hope you will have fun in learning, especially beginners.

1. Youtube

Youtube is your best friend when it comes to all things D.I.Y., and that includes car repairs. You can search anything from how to change a tire, to completely restoring a barn find. My highest recommendation is the channel "ChrisFix". He has everything from deep-cleaning your car, changing all the fluids, replacing brake pads, and much more. His videos are all extremely easy to follow with step-by-step instruction. It's my favorite channel to gain general knowledge of parts and service.


2. Your car's owners manual

This is something I learned from ChrisFix, but I'll pass it on as my second tip. Read your car's owners manual. It contains every piece of information you need to know about your car—the tire size, the types of fluids, and fuel. It tells you about the drive system, towing, security, and literally everything else. You should be familiar with what you're driving. If you've misplaced yours, or you bought a used car that didn't come with it, chances are you will be able to find it online through a Google search, or contact the manufacturer and ask if they can send you one.

3. Research service estimates online

Before you buy a car, do you search for the best price? Hopefully you do! So why not do the same with repairs? When you can't do the repair yourself, or if you don't want to, it will be time to go to the shop.

Websites like Repair Pal and Your Mechanic can help give you a ballpark idea of what you should be paying, based on your type of car and specific services. There are more reputable sites such as Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book, and AAA . Again, the trusty Google search comes in handy, and you'll find dozens of estimate websites. Use as many as you like and make a rough list of costs. With this information, you won't be an easy scam target in any shop.

4. Find a small, local mechanic or a certified shop

Another way to avoid getting scammed is to find a small, but reputable mechanic in your area. If you're new to the area, ask your neighbors or coworkers. Sometimes Google won't help in this instance, because the mechanic may be a hidden gem. Find someone you can get to know on a first name basis—one who won't swindle you for money, but who actually cares about fixing cars for people's safety.

Certified shops are another safe option. They must meet certain operational requirements, including following fair pricing business practices.

5. Drivetribe

Of course! There's a wealth of knowledge to be found on here. Hopefully this article provides some. Drivetribers share a constant stream of information, from newsworthy to fun quizzes. Whether you want to read about the latest Porsche or get recommendations on the best wax products, Drivetribe has it all. There's tips on how to choose a car that fits your needs, to today's best deals.

Most of all, it's an inclusive community of people who treat each other with respect. We're all car lovers, no matter how much we know or don't know about the machines. Drivetribe is a place where you can freely ask questions and receive quality answers and feedback. It's a community willing to share information and teach one another around the world.

Where do you learn most of you automotive info? Share in the comments!

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Comments (14)

  • I myself work at a local auto shop and my boss taught me to only fix the problem that the car came in for. He said if there is another problem with the car, we are supposed to recommend it and offer to fix it but to respect the customers decision.

      16 days ago
    • Sounds like you work for a nice shop, that's great! Do you enjoy it?

        16 days ago
    • Most of the time yeah, but its hard work

        16 days ago
  • Great advice - especially the suggestion to reach out to the DT community. We all love cars here, and what we love even more is helping people to love their cars more!

      14 days ago
    • Thank you for reading! Have to love this community, always nice and helping each other

        14 days ago
  • Great article, so true with the shop. My father has been building a relationship with a shop in town for almost 15 years. Now the know us and our cars well and we trust them to be fair. It’s really nice to have the peace of mind that your not being screwed.

      14 days ago
    • That's nice! Yes relationships are key and I'm glad to hear your father takes care of his customers

        14 days ago
  • I feel like a dealer is probably one of the most transparent places nowadays because the markets have forced them to be so efficient. I have more worry in a home repair...or dentist office :)

      14 days ago
    • This is true. My family found a good dealership last time we bought a car. They were quick too, it took just a couple hours to go through the buying process. Dealerships also give some nice perks. We got free oil changes for 3 years, and probably...

      Read more
        14 days ago
  • I also work at a local mechanic shop and my boss taught me how to do repairs like spark plugs, coils and even valve cover gaskets. I also learned how to detail cars properly thanks to chrisfix.

    And like you said, YouTube and DRIVETRIBE are the 2 most easiest ways to get the most car knowledge whether it’s your car or someone else’s.

    But one thing I also recommend getting that’s a bit harder to obtain is getting a job at a auto shop. It taught me so much even though I’ve only worked at my shop for just over a month.

      15 days ago
    • That's awesome you get a hands-on learning experience. Totally agree that's another great way to learn

        15 days ago