Pascal: She said to me, “I couldn’t believe how cheaply I got my car repaired.” She told me and it was unbelievable. Now she has thousands of dollars’ worth of problems — 18 months on she has a huge problem. All these major components are worn because someone left out an expensive part.

Jean: This is Pascal. He’s not just an auto repair expert, he’s also a mechanical engineer and he’s been repairing cars for 35 years. What’s step 1 when you’re trying to get your car fixed without getting ripped off?

Pascal: You can look around and see everything’s loud and everything’s bustling and getting in and out fast. That’s never a good sign. It usually lends itself to every shortcut under the sun. If you want a cheaper job you can get cheaper parts. There’s a huge difference in the quality of these parts. There’s a reason why they are cheaper.

Jean: How do you know if you’re getting a good quality repair?

Pascal: Is it a repair facility that you’re familiar with? Have you been going there for a month or 4 years? Your mechanic should tailor your maintenance to how you drive — if you’re a city driver, if you’re a country driver or do you do long-distance? Good, experienced mechanics will be able to tell a lot just by looking at the car.

Jean: A lot of people slack off when it comes to taking their car in for its checkups. What’s the rule?

Pascal: Pay attention to those indicator lights, to a strange noise. Picking up the phone and saying to your mechanic, “Light A came on. Is it dangerous? Is it necessary to come in?” is a good idea. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone because, “Oh I’m going to sound stupid.” The only stupid question is the one never asked and in this case it could save you hundreds, thousands of dollars.

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