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Why Do Auto Repair Costs Vary?


If you’re like many savvy shoppers, you want to make sure you’re getting the most for your
hard-earned dollars, whether you’re shopping for groceries, clothes, or auto repair services.

If you’ve ever compared the cost of services from one auto shop to another, you’ve noticed that
they don’t all charge the same amount for their services.

Why is that?

Not all auto repair shops are equal, and the owner of the shop has a lot to do with the pricing of
the services. Dealerships and franchise auto repair shops have traditionally taken a band-aid
approach to auto repair. You bring your car in, they fix the issue you came in for, and you drive
off thinking you’re problem-free.

It’s only later, when the strange noise comes back, the jitters start up again, or the funny smell
returns that you wonder whether they completely fixed the problem.

The answer, in many cases, is no.

The practice of fixing the symptom rather than the root cause doesn’t only apply to franchise
auto shops and dealerships. Many individually-owned repair shops operate the same way. A lot
depends on the owner and his or her philosophy when it comes to taking care of customers.

You’ll often find these “band-aid” shops quite affordable when it comes to repair services, while
the dealership heavily relies on their perceived expertise.

Let’s say you bring your car in and you’re told that you’re due for a timing belt. You’re correctly
told that this a very critical maintenance item that you do not want to put off. The dealership or
franchise store slaps on a new timing belt and gives you an invoice.

You pay and drive off.

All is well until you start to hear a sound a few months later. It turns out that if the shop had
taken the time to perform the maintenance job completely, they would have replaced the idler
pulley, tensioner, and water pump along with the timing belt. This a much more time-consuming

Maybe they just wanted to sell something at a lower price rather than recommend the complete
maintenance job.

Some shop owners are more thorough. They take a comprehensive approach to auto repair and
always check your vehicle from bumper to bumper. Cars are similar to our bodies. Everything is
interconnected and interdependent, and the symptom you come in concerned about may well
be part of a larger problem.

You just don’t know it yet.

It’s up to the trained technician to diagnose the issue and get it fixed before it leaves you stalled
on the side of the road. These “fix the root cause” shops are the shops that often seem a bit
pricey when doing comparison shopping.

But, as they say, you get what you pay for.

If you’re looking for a go-to auto shop to handle your car issues, make sure you ask questions
about how each shop operates before you settle on one. You don’t want a “band-aid” shop;
band-aids usually fall off.

Choose a shop that goes the extra mile to make sure your vehicle is in peak running condition
at all times.

It may cost a little more up front, but you’ll be happy about it in the long run.

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