How to get the most at the auto shop

Michelle Basch,

WASHINGTON – Taking your car in for repairs isn’t fun, but there are things you can do to keep the repair bill down and ensure your four-wheeled baby is fixed right the first time.

One thing you should do is tell the repair shop or dealership as much as you can about exactly what’s going wrong.

If your car acts up only at certain times and under certain conditions, pull over and take notes detailing the symptoms as they happen.

What you shouldn’t do is suggest to your mechanic what you think the source of the trouble is.

Consumer Reports says that could lead to costly repairs that don’t actually fix the problem.

On the other hand, if a mechanic tells you what he thinks the problem is and you’re skeptical, ask to see evidence.

Also, you can avoid being surprised by the repair bill by requesting an estimate, and asking the shop to call you for approval if the actual price is more.

Read more from Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Survey, including drivers’ top complaints about both dealerships and independent car repair shops.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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