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Why A Cheap Car Service Could Cost You More

Why A Cheap Car Service Could Cost You More

What’s the deal with car services? One mechanic charges $120 and another $220 for what seems like the same basic service on a standard car. If you’re like most people you’d opt for the cheaper of the two. However most people don’t understand that not all services are created equal.

What’s included in a basic service can vary massively. Minimum is a oil and filter change (about a 10-20 minute job) and what you often find is that the cheapest services that’s all they actually do. Which is fine for a brand new car on an in-between service, however the rest of the time it’s definitely not enough.

When it comes to servicing, the best go-to is your logbook, it will list out (by km’s and years) when you need to head to the mechanic and what needs servicing with a clear tick-box style list of items. Things like checking particular parts and functions, essential safety checks and doing all those little things that keep your car running well and looking great. In addition to this, a good mechanic will top up your tyre pressure, fill all those fluids under your bonnet (water, wiper washer, coolant etc), check your globes, wiper rubbers, air conditioning and brakes.

All these things take time, however they are well worth it; ensuring your safety, your car’s health and that you don’t run into a bigger issue down the road. It’s this extra care that means a good service isn’t always the cheapest.

Why A Cheap Car Service Could Cost You More 2
Why A Cheap Car Service Could Cost You More

Beware the Upsell

But wait, there’s another reason to be wary of cheap servicing. Cheaper services usually means you’re in for the dreaded upsell. It’s standard for mechanics and workshops to compete on price, so they often quote the lowest possible rate to get you in the door and then upsell you all kinds of things you don’t even need.

Performing a service for even $100 would only just break even for most mechanics running a workshop. To actually make money they have to upsell things in. The result; you think you’re going to pay $100, but you walk away with a much larger bill.

A common example I’ve seen is that the mechanic claims what they quotes including changing the oil only, then they add on:
-Checking your brakes ($40 extra)

-Manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil ($30 extra)
-Fluid top up ($10 extra)
-etc etc

The thing is, these items are part of your logbook service and is what any decent mechanic quoting a fair price will do as part of your service.

They’ll also often try to upsell more expensive extra’s that you don’t even need such as:

– On-car injection services
– Engine flush
– Air conditioning services
– Engine decarbonisation service
What seemed like a bargain quickly turns into an expensive affair.

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Ultimately, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned throughout the years it’s to avoid cheap services like the plague! Find a good mechanic who you can trust, check out your logbook service schedule and spend a little more on a thorough and quality service. Your car will thank you for it… and, in the long run, so will your hip pocket!

For more auto related tips and tricks head to the Blue Toro Blog.

Written by Janelle Gonzalez

Corporate escapee and mechanic’s wife Janelle Gonzalez has spent the last 24 years in garages, pit lanes and on road trips. Living a double life - corporate by weekday, trackside on the weekends - she shares her husband’s passion for cars. She has now turned her skills to building Australia’s first national mobile mechanic franchise. Her mission is to help Australians trust mechanics by educating car owners and returning to good old fashioned service values, while changing the lives of mechanics and their families.

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