A Northwestern University study has found that the best way to save money on car repair is to know what repairs are needed and how much they should cost. Here’s how you can stay informed and save thousands. Ah, the check engine light.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of dread that creeps in when that little light pops on. Let’s hope it’s nothing major, a loose wire maybe or *fingers crossed* a loose gas cap! But in reality, it could be a host of other issues that will require expensive repairs.
It’s a real bummer walking into the local repair shop when you have no idea what’s wrong with your car or how much it’s going to cost you, am I right?
Knowing how to find a good repair shop is a great way to ensure you get exactly what you need (without overpaying for unnecessary car repairs), but it’s not the best way to save money and guarantee you’re not getting taken advantage of at the repair shop.
To find out how to get the best price on your car repairs, we’ll have to look at this study out of Northwestern University.
First, You Need To Know What Car Repairs You Need
According to a study performed at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, appearing confident and car-savvy helps drivers get better rates on their repairs.
“Auto repair is one of the last vestiges in which there is a tremendous amount of information asymmetry going on between consumers and firms,” explained Florian Zettelmeyer, a professor of marketing at the school where the study took place.
In other words, there’s a lack of transparency in the auto repair industry. Mechanics have access to information about your car that you don’t and set their own prices. If they think you’re clueless about car repair and they’re not an honest shop, you’re more likely to get ripped off.
This is especially true for women. Among people who didn’t know what repair they needed, women were more likely to be given a higher quote for the same repair than men for the exact same issues.
On the plus side, women were also more likely to receive a discount when they asked for it. Maybe chivalry isn’t completely dead?
Second, You Need To Know How Much Your Car Repair Costs
Accurately quoting your repair cost can help reduce the price.
You see, some people are bargain hunters and will call around for quotes to get a standard ball-park price on repairs, but others won’t. Repair shops know this and sometimes set higher prices to sell only to the convenience shoppers.
That means, if you’re not aware of what a good deal is, then you’re most likely going to pay more than you should for repairs.
To get the best price, let the mechanic know you know the car, the repair, and what a reasonable quote is right off the bat.
So, for both men and women, mechanics are much more likely to give you an honest rate when you come to them prepared and knowing what you need and how much the repair should cost. But that leads us to an important question…
How To Find Out What Car Repairs You Need And How Much They Should Cost
Unless you’re a mechanic, live with a mechanic, or are best friends with a mechanic, there’s no way to know what your check engine light means… or what car repairs you need. You may have been experiencing a misfire here or there or felt like the engine was running rough, but many times there are no symptoms at all.
The best thing you can do is get an OBD2 scanner like FIXD to help you start diagnosing the problem.
How Do OBD2 Scanners Work?
Every gas-powered car built in 1996 or after has a computer inside it that can “talk” to your vehicle’s engine.
The OBD2 scanner is the tool that communicates with your car to tell you what’s wrong whenever there’s a check engine light. While it can’t always pinpoint the exact repair you need, it will be able to filter out a host of issues to help you walk into a repair shop informed and confident.
You see, every check engine light is tied to a specific OBD trouble code (or engine fault code) that tells mechanics what’s wrong. An OBD car scanner is able to read this code so that repair shops have a clear starting point for diagnosing and repairing your vehicle.
What Makes The FIXD Car Scanner Different From Other OBD Scanners?
Until technology caught up with recent times, these types of diagnostic tools were bulky, expensive, and only available to mechanics and gear-heads.
But that’s all changed with tools like the FIXD Sensor!
This affordable device fits in the palm of your hand and is easy for anyone to use – even if you have zero car knowledge right now. Because it’s also an OBD2 app, you can connect the FIXD Sensor to your iPhone or Android device to translate your check engine light into plain English in a matter of seconds. No more check engine light anxiety!
The FIXD Sensor and free app allows you to pinpoint your OBD fault code and find out more about what’s going on with your car before you take it to the shop so that you’re prepared with accurate, detailed information and don’t get ripped off.
Most car scanners at the same price point simply spit out the fault code (which you then have to look up on a directory like this) and aren’t designed for anyone to use.
Plus, if you want more help diagnosing your specific car repair issue and you’d like to see fair market prices for your repairs before going to the shop, FIXD Premium puts these details at your fingertips. You can call a FIXD Mechanic to walk you through your issues, see upfront cost estimates for your repairs, and much more. Click here to learn more about FIXD Premium, plus how you can get a FREE sensor with your first year!
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.