woman working on a carThe saying goes “I LOVE MY CAR”. But one thing nobody loves is getting their bank accounts broken by a hefty car repair bill. Now, imagine how much that would sting if your bill were higher based solely on your gender. For women, this is often the unfortunate reality. The stereotype that women know less about cars makes it easier for repair shop owners to take advantage. Defy the stereotype! Change this unfair practice through empowerment, no matter if you’re a female or male. No one should feel intimidated by car repairs, or pay an inflated price because they aren’t familiar with what they should actually be paying. When the consumer has no idea how something works, they are dependent on the repair shop to inform them of the truth. If your repair shop lacks integrity, you’re ripe for a rip-off. No matter your gender, familiarize yourself with your owners manual so you have an idea of what your car needs. Never call a repair shop and say, “I have no idea about cars! What is this supposed to cost me?” You’ve just set yourself up for a higher bill. There are many reputable shops with professionals making an honest living, but a few bad apples will try to cheat drivers – mainly women – out of their money. To defy the stereotype and avoid being taken for a ride, here are five simple tips to follow:

Do your research

Have a solid idea of what to expect before you even set foot in the repair shop. Find out how long they have been in business and whether they offer a warranty. Get an idea of their reputation by asking around. You want value over price, so don’t be led by lowball pricing; the cheapest quote isn’t necessarily the best one.

Get it in writing

Before you agree to any service, make sure your estimate is in writing. Ask for the final price, including tax and shop fees.

Know your car’s suggested services

Dig out that handy-dandy owner’s manual that you might have shoved into your glove compartment, buried under Target receipts and parking tickets. Check to see when your car will need certain services, like spark plug replacements or oil changes, so that you can have the mechanic perform those services only when necessary. If the mechanic attempts to perform an action prematurely, ask for a detailed explanation before deciding whether to allow it.

Understand the difference between the types of repair

The first type is recommended repair work, or maintenance that could improve your car’s performance, such as acceleration or fuel efficiency. The second type, preventative, is work that isn’t urgent right now, but will likely need future attention. By agreeing to preventative work now, you could be saving beaucoup bucks on a more serious problem later. Finally, necessary repair work is absolutely vital for your car’s safe performance.

Sometimes it’s just expensive

There’s really no way around the fact that repair costs can be expensive. Even required parts and labor can cost a pretty penny. You may not want to pay for 12 hours of labor, but a mechanic who takes the time to perform a thorough, quality service is worth the price. The best advice for anyone, but especially women: “Ask and tell, don’t get pushed around.” Trust your instincts. Women who tell the repair shop they’ve done their research about the facility, who aren’t afraid to ask for explanations, and who understand the difference between a necessary repair and one that can wait are more likely to pull out ahead of being taken advantage of. And that’s definitely something to love. #LOVEBEINGEMPOWERED