You love your car and everything's working fine. But when something breaks or your car is involved in an accident, you dread the cost of repairs. The best way to minimize your stress and lower your costs is to know what to do to get estimates for repair.
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Start your search by asking a friend or someone you know for a referral. There's a lot of ways to get scammed or overcharged by car repair centers, so going to a place with a good reputation can save you money by eliminating unnecessary repairs or charges.
Take your car to a repair center, preferably one that doesn't charge for estimates, and ask them to give you a summary of what is wrong with the car. Once you determine what needs to be fixed, you can call other repair centers to compare costs.
Call at least three different car repair centers and compare the estimates. If they all quote you approximately the same cost, then it's a good chance that the estimates you are receiving are fair. However, if they seem high it never hurts to call several more.
Ask for a summarized estimate of the car repair costs. This should include replacement parts needed for the repair, labor cost, miscellaneous charges, flat fees and a summary of charges. The labor cost is the number of hours spent to repair multiplied by the hourly charge of the car service.
Request the estimate in writing. An estimate is not a guarantee of the charges due to possible unforeseen complications once the mechanic begins to repair your car. However, if the charges end up being much higher than what you were quoted, you can take your complaint to the manager and possibly get it resolved in a satisfactory manner.