Why phone estimates for car repairs seldom are accurate……

So, you need some repairs to your vehicle. You know this because you hear a noise, have googled the problem and the internet tells you what it is, you may have some mechanical ability and you make an educated guess, or you had your car checked elsewhere, they told you what was needed to fix your problem and now you want to shop for the best price.

So you start phoning around to various shops and you most likely get various responses. At this stage, the only response that you should trust is simply, “if you would like to bring the vehicle in we will be happy to inspect the vehicle and give you a confirmed estimate”.

Why should you trust when a Service Advisor asks you to bring in the vehicle for an inspection?

An inspection is vital to determine what is wrong with the vehicle. Without seeing the vehicle, it is impossible to quote on a repair not only because there is no certainty as to what is wrong but also there may be more information required. The number one thing a shop owner must consider is simply this, is what you are asking for a quote on really what is wrong with the vehicle. Often quotes are being given on work that is not required, will not fix the problem, there are other problems with the vehicle that would make this repair less important or worse yet, not worth doing as the vehicle is ready to retire.

More so now than ever, there are many variables to doing a proper estimate. Having the vehicles serial number is always a must but that alone won’t answer all the questions. Brakes, for example, may come in different sizes, an engine or transmission number may be required to determine what parts may be required and the general condition of the car (rust or other damage) can also make a difference in what the repairs costs may be. Sometimes vehicles have been modified and the parts on the car are not the original ones which can affect an estimate as well.

There is a bigger issue though to consider. If you get 2 or 3 estimates which one do you go with? If the person that quoted you hasn’t seen the car, how can you expect them to honor an estimate and if that is the case, then how do you know what the costs will actually be?

Professional shops may give you “ball park prices” if any at all, where as some shops will quote you low to get you in the door and then when they get a look at the car give you the real estimate which is not anywhere near the phone quote. Now what do you do?

If the intention is to get an idea of a price, then there may be merit to call around, however the intent of these calls should be to determine the integrity and professionalism of the shop, not to get a solid quote.

Car repairs can be very expensive. The tried and true method of keeping your automotive costs in check is very simple, find a shop that you trust, that is focused on preventative maintenance and work with them. Yes, sometimes the jobs may cost more at these shops, but the overall relationship and trust over the years will save you a lot of money by preventing surprises, educating you as a vehicle owner to keep the overall ownership and repair costs down.

For more information or to schedule an inspection call us at 204-987-2461 or email us at service@frankmotors.ca