RepairPal How many of you have been to an auto-repair shop whether independent or car-dealership and felt you were taken for a ride? I have to admit I did; most of the time. In California, there is a law that forces them to give you a written estimate on how much the cost will be before they can perform any repairs on the car. However, that won’t stop them from telling you to fix things on your car you don’t need.

Just this past month, a friend of mine were told to have a repair done on her car because a warning signal came on. She went to her dealer and they told her it’s going to cost her hundred of dollars to have it fixed. Good thing she talked to a couple of friends who suggested she tighten the cap on the tank. And it worked. She complained to the dealer and they told her it could be something else and the fix might work only temporarily. I have no doubt in my minds the car dealership knows the repair wasn’t needed but told her to do it anyway. In this bad economy, I am sure this problem will only get worse.

I am not saying there aren’t any honest auto-repair shops out there but how can you tell the honest one from the crooks? How can you prevent yourself from being taken advantage of? Well, you can get educated about auto-repair but let’s face it, not everyone have the time or the interest to learn about auto repair. You can also talk to friends who know about car. But not everyone have such friends. :-) Myself included.

Or you can do what I do now. I go to RepairPal website and figure out how much a certain repair will cost before I sign the dotted line. The RepairPal Estimator gives a repair estimate based on the make, model, and year of your car, the service type and your zip code. There are over 80 service types listed on the site.

I can honestly say I feel so much better about having this website at my disposal. Not only it allows me to make an informed decision regarding an auto-repair, it also helps me to tell apart the honest auto-repair shops from the crooks.

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