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Women pay more for car repair

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

A new study suggests that women who don't appear knowledgeable about the cost of a car repair may pay more than men. The study, which was conducted by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in collaboration with, a car repair information website, used field experiments with both men and women calling car-repair shops to ask for a quote on replacing the radiator on a 2003 Toyota Camry. The callers appeared to be well-informed of the market price for the repair ($365), misinformed with a higher price expectation ($510) or uninformed, with no expectation of price.

Both men and women who said they knew the average cost was $365 were both quoted $393 initially. Both genders who said they expected to pay $510 were quoted a significantly higher, but similar, rate for the auto repair -- $426 for men and $428 for women. But when each gender expressed no knowledge of the price, women didn't fare as well. Those men were quoted $383, while women who said they had no idea of the cost were quoted $406.

Interestingly, when the men and women in the study tried to negotiate after the initial price quote, 35 percent of the women were able to get the car-repair shop to meet their price, whereas only 25 percent of men had success.

For tips on determining the cost of an auto repair, read "How much should your car repair cost?"

Do you think you get a fair price on car repairs?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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July 17, 2013 at 8:40 am

I do not know anything about cars. I do trust my guy at my local place which is an AAMCO. They do everything to my car and much cheaper than my dealer. They are a franchise I think, so maybe it is different between owner to owner? I would think it is like McDonalds (ALL THE SAME?)

July 17, 2013 at 7:03 am

Man are different then women. They can`t pull that we are all the same stuff like they do with other issues.
Men are built different then women.
We think different.

July 17, 2013 at 6:14 am

It shows just how little some people really know about cars to think they get the 60-90 dollars an hour the shop charges and they barely have a high schools education. With the computers and electrical components put on cars today it takes a college degree to become a licensed mechanic and you have to continue to take courses yearly to keep your certification. Just a word to anyone, male or female, in car, home or anykind of repair, ask around. Get referrals.

July 17, 2013 at 1:20 am

I'm totally flabbergasted that anyone is surprised that women and uninformed men and women pay more for car repairs. It's a racket and it goes on all the time! It's completely unfair and immoral but it's also commonplace, more the norm than the exception. I have come to suspect the many, perhaps most, car repair people are pathology liars. They treat every customer as a mark and their solitary goal is to fleece them for as much as they can. They routinely sell parts that aren't needed, inflate the time it takes to install the part or parts and charge labor that is dependent on how well the customer is dressed of how uninformed he or she looks and then lie about it if challenged. I've been stung many times and there doesn't seem to be an easy solution other than to shop around and develop a relationship with a mechanic or shop that you trust. I stick with the dealers as there is management to complain to if the price seems too high. Dealer prices are higher but they generally won't take advantage of customers.

July 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm

They nail guys that don't know about cars too....... It just so happens that more men know about cars than women.....

The article is very misleading. It should say that the uneducated get taken advantage of - and gender has little to do with it.

July 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Karen Chadwick,, Do you think the mechanics are getting $60-$90 an hour? Not even close, that's the shop labor rate per hour. The typical mechanic will only see $15-$30 of that.

Karen Chadwick
July 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

As a women who has recently been over charged for car repairs and had repairs done that were not needed I ask, what do the auto mechanics as a group intend to do about this dishonesty and fraud and theft considering auto mechanics make twice as much ($60.00) and in some shops three times as much($90.00/hr!!!) per hour as a Registered Nurse not to mention they have only a high school education if that to do their jobs!!! These mechanics also many times don't fix the problem, only for the car owner to take the car back to the shop to have more costly repairs done. Did these over paid technicians ever consider they are playing with some one's life when they don't fix the car problem correctly the first time and may be sending the driver of the car out into the road to have a potentially lethal accident- that's called a motor vehicle accident, MVA, brain injures, chest trauma, crush injuries aka "Trauma alerts" in the country's trauma hospitals!!! Perhaps auto mechanics should be required to have a higher level of education, degrees, to perform their jobs and learn a sense of ethics, responsibility and accountability for the amount of money they earn per hour and the potentially dangrousness of the machines they are working on!!

July 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm


men pay more in auto insurance because they are more likely to disobey the driving laws. Men are also more likely to be in an auto accident than women. Men are more likely to take risks.

This is not new information, it has been out there for quite some time.

Jack Hernandez
July 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

This is a very interesting finding. Women are especially good at negotiating when they are dealing with men. They certainly have an effect on men that will somehow make them soft. The thing with men though, they seem to have more initiative.

July 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

Can we get an article on why men pay more for auto insurance, even when they have clear driving records?