No one enjoys paying for car repairs, especially when they come out of nowhere and at the worst possible time. While you may have little control over when you might need car repairs, you can take steps to make sure you get a fair quote whenever you need them.
Choose a quality auto repairer
When choosing a business to do your repairs, check it is well-established and experienced in doing the type of repairs you need. Shop around and get a quote from at least a few different businesses, as well as rough time frames for completion.
Ask friends and family for their recommendations and, if you take your car to other providers for different services, they will often be able to provide local recommendations. Business reviews can also help give you an idea of what experience others have had with various auto workshops. And, if the provider is a member of a relevant association, they’re more likely to be reputable.
Auto repair estimates vs quotes
It’s important to recognise the difference between an auto repair estimate and a quote.
An estimate is only a rough idea of what the work will cost you and this is not a fixed price. This may not always be accurate and can vary depending on the cost and availability of parts. This is why it’s often best to take your car in, wherever possible, for a proper physical assessment.
A quote, on the other hand, is a written agreement covering how much the repair will cost you. This should have a properly detailed price breakdown of the work to be carried out that makes up the total quoted price.
If you need a repair done so you have your vehicle available within a certain timeframe, be sure to specify this with the provider. Also, note that some quotes expire after a certain time, so it’s worth looking out for this.
Be sure to specify whether you would like an estimate, or a quote, so you’re on the same page as your repairer from the start. The more information that’s made available, the more accurate your estimate and subsequent quote will be.
Consider more than price when it comes to finding the best quote, as a higher price can often indicate a higher level of service.
Know your rights if things go wrong
Suppose your vehicle requires additional repairs that your service provider has only spotted when they start the repairs. In this case, they should contact you before beginning any work that will exceed the originally agreed and quoted cost.
You’ll be protected under the Consumer Guarantees Act for the work to be carried out to a reasonable standard, timeframe, and cost.
Once they’ve agreed on a quote, the provider must carry out the repairs within the fixed quote price unless agreed otherwise. The repair provider cannot legally ask for additional payment if extra work is done above what’s outlined on the quote.
If you’re unsure about any aspect of a repair quote, be sure to ask questions. This will help you both understand more clearly what’s expected and what it will cost.