What everyone should know about car repair estimates
Fact- not all estimates are the same. That is why we often seek out a second or third opinion.
Fact- the cheapest estimate may not always be the “right one” for you
Fact- estimates are a calculated number and may vary slightly higher or lower than the actual total of the repair
Fact- finish reading this blog about car repair estimates and you will feel more informed and better prepared to make car repair decisions
Would you have the roof replaced on your home without getting more than one estimate before the work was done? No, of course not.
Would you have the roof repaired before you asked how much it would cost? No, of course not.
The most accurate car repair estimates are given after the vehicle has been properly inspected so that the technician knows exactly what is causing your concern and which parts have failed or are in need of replacement.
Inaccurate car repair estimates occur when the service advisor does not have an opportunity to physically inspect the vehicle and/or does not have all of the information about the vehicle (including but not limited to: year, make, model, engine size, trim package, after market modifications, etc).
You can call a repair shop and ask how much a brake job is for a jeep, but is it for front brakes, rear brakes or the emergency braking system? Does it include replacement of the pads (standard or ceramic), will the rotors be resurfaced or replaced, are the calipers seized or in good working condition, does the service include a brake fluid service? That is quite a large list of variables, isn’t it? That is why phone quotes are so inaccurate- have the vehicle inspected. Most reputable shops will complete this for free and give you a free estimate.
Is this estimate right for you?
- Were you comfortable with the person you spoke with? Did he/she listen to your concerns and address them? Do you trust the repair facility?
- What is the warranty on the repair- both parts and labor. ASK! This can vary greatly. If you are planning on investing a large amount into the repair, but plan to keep the vehicle, a warranty is very important. Is the warranty locally supported or nationwide?
- What forms of payment do they offer? Are there any discounts available? Do they have a customer loyalty program?
- Does the repair facility that you are considering offer any other services that would benefit you? Examples are: pick up/drop off service, shuttle service (ride to/from your home/job), loaner vehicle, etc.
- Does the estimate include tax and shop supplies? (shop supplies is a nominal charge that is typically assessed on every ticket. It covers the cost of products used in the repair process that cannot be individually priced and some government mandated charges for recycling of wastes etc.)
- Ask how long the repair will likely take. Remember that repair shops will need to order the parts for the repair and occasionally incorrect parts are shipped and may delay the end result. Technicians cannot fix your car when you are driving it, so plan ahead and give the technician ample time to do the repair correctly the first time.
- On rare occasions, you may not be happy with the repair. Call the repair shop and arrange to bring the vehicle back for re-inspection. Technicians cannot tell if a part will fail just by looking at it. Reputable facilities will apologize for your inconvenience and offer to make it right when given the opportunity. Business owners want happy customers who will return for service again and tell their friends about it too.
We want you to be safe!