I am sure that everyone who reads has a horror story about getting scammed by unscrupulous auto mechanics. My story involves a car I once owned that was exhibiting a shuttering noise from the automatic transmission between 35mph to 45mph when going up a slight grade. I took the car into a transmission shop and it was concluded I needed a new transmission for $2,200. I later took my car into a shop that I dealt with for oil changes and mentioned the transmission problem. The mechanic came out with a bottle of what was called ‘shutter guard’ for $15.00. He said put this in and run the car for 500 miles and the shuttering will be gone. It worked and I had no further issues. Amazing!
So when I read an article about some of the common scams that auto mechanics try to pull, I thought I would pass these on to you.
1. Technician brings customer a dirty air filter, says it needs to be replaced. It’s not the customer’s air filter, it’s a dirty air filter they keep on hand to show the customer.
2. The “you need to rotate your tires” scam, but they never rotate the tires. I had this one pulled on me once. I needed to have them rotated so they said they would do it. They billed me for the service, but one of my tires had a mark on it, and when I got the car back that tire hadn’t moved.
Note: When I take my card in for service and ask that the tires be rotated, before I go into the shop, I put a small piece of tape on my driver’s side rim. When the car is brought back to me, I checked to see that the rim with the tape has been moved to the rear. If it hasn’t, I let the shop know about it.
3. Dealership telling customers that if DEALER doesn’t do the “required” service (dealer’s listed services NOT manufacturer’s) they will void the cars warranty.
Note: Unless it explicitly states that the warranty is void if servicing is not done by a dealer in your vehicle manual, this is a scam. Just make sure you keep all of your receipts when you have your vehicle serviced.
4. Jiffy lube…shows you a piece of paper with dirty transmission fluid and clean transmission fluid. Tell me mine is the dirty one and it should look clean (the red one). Thing was that I changed the transmission fluid a month earlier.
Note: The only thing in my life that has the word ‘Jif’ on it is my jar of peanut butter. LOL
5. I had a guy at a lube shop show me a card with what was supposedly my dirty coolant on it. The coolant they showed me was green, my car actually had red coolant in it.
6. Cabin air filter.. they do exist and should be replaced, but getting charged $75 to open the glove box and push two clips is just ridiculous. The actual filter costs AT THE MOST $18. Normally about $12
Note: I replaced my own cabin filter and it took me all of 5 minutes. That included getting the filter out of the box. As mentioned above the dealer wanted $75 and I did for $12 and saved enough for a nice steak dinner for my wife and I.
7. I had Jiffy Lube tell me that they needed to run some sort of cleaner through the engine of my ’92 Honda Accord. It would cost $120 but it would clean all the gunk out of my engine. They claimed it was recommended by Honda. Not only is it not recommended by Honda, it’s advised against by just about everyone.
8. My particular vehicle has a fixed rear end, meaning that the alignment is permanently set to manufacturers specs and is non-adjustable. This is the case on many front wheel drive cars. A front end alignment is enough. There is no point in paying someone to re-align the rear wheels when it is impossible for them to do so. However, the last time I bought new tires at Sears, the service tech attempted to sell me a 4 wheel alignment and insisted I needed one. He only apologized when I called him out on his “mistake” in front of a store full of customers.
I also saw this great piece of advice:
Familiarize yourself with your car. Research it on the internet and owners manual to determine whether or not it requires a particular service before you pay someone to perform it.
I went onto a Nissan forum and located the complete service manuals for my Rogue. I downloaded them all and placed in on a flash drive. I keep the flash drive in the inside pocket of my owner’s manual.
What kind of scams have you had pulled on you? Share your experiences with us.
Disclaimer. The comments above were taken directly from the article and are not my opinion.